At the beginning of Biden’s presidency, congressional Democrats marched largely in lockstep with the president. But as his first year in office approaches its end, that situation has changed drastically.
Still reeling from the public opinion hit incurred by the Afghanistan withdrawal, and faced with ongoing supply chain, inflation, and energy crises, Biden has become far less popular with voters—a fact that has not gone unnoticed by congressional Democrats, who have started to break with Biden more and more frequently.
At the end of May, Biden’s approval rating hit a peak of 55 percent according to Rasmussen’s Daily Presidential Tracking Poll. This popularity would be short-lived and would fall sharply following Biden’s controversial Afghanistan withdrawal.
On Aug. 9, before the Afghanistan fiasco began, Biden’s approval rate was still at 49 percent. But after the fall of Afghanistan left hundreds of Americans trapped in the country, public support for the president plummeted.
Polling at the time showed that nearly three-fifths of the country—59 percent—felt that the Biden administration was not doing enough to save Americans trapped in the country.
Afghan Withdrawal Prompts First Signs of Trouble
By Sept. 1, the tide of public opinion had turned substantially against the president, with only 42 percent of likely voters approving of Biden.
This sudden drop in public support prompted the first wave of defections among vulnerable Democrats, who rushed to distance themselves from the president.
Rep. Crissy Houlahan (D-Penn.), whose seat has been rated vulnerable by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), was one of the first to criticize the president in a public statement.
In her statement, she contended that she and others had warned Biden of the danger but said that those warnings “fell on deaf ears.”
Several other vulnerable House Democrats quickly followed suit.
In the Senate as well, some Democrats began to distance themselves from the president: Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), and others made a point of criticizing the withdrawal and promising action and oversight.
Since then, things have only gotten worse for President Biden, prompting more and more Democrats to jump ship in an effort to save their seats in 2022.
By Joseph Lord