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Dems in Distress: Internal Rift Clouds Biden’s Future as They Reconvene in Washington

As the dust of summer recess settles, Hill Democrats find themselves in an unusual and challenging position. President Biden’s first year has been a roller coaster of momentum swings, policy challenges, and emerging crises, all of which have left Democrats on Capitol Hill grappling with difficult questions about their allegiance to the administration and the future trajectory of their party. The Biden administration started on a high-note, riding on the back of major policy achievements, including the passage of a massive COVID-19 relief package. However, as multiple crises have since erupted on both the domestic and international fronts, there has been a noticeable cooling of ardor among some Hill Democrats for the president’s leadership. This has resulted in a deep internal struggle, a tug of war between loyalty to the administration and the instinct for self-preservation, especially for those facing tough re-election fights in 2022. The messy withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, the resurgence of COVID-19 due to the Delta variant, and the ongoing migrant crisis at the southern border have all strained the once unified Democratic front. The fallout from these events has potentially jeopardized Biden’s key legislative issues, such as the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion budget resolution, which includes transformative but expensive provisions for childcare, education, and climate change. These events have left many Democrats torn over their stance on the President. While there is still a strong recognition of the Biden administration’s accomplishments, including the massive vaccination campaign, there is a palpable sense of unease looming. Some Hill Democrats face a difficult balancing act, trying to support the President’s vision while also being aware of the ramifications of the current crises on their voters’ sentiments. The political tightrope Democrats are walking also became evident in the areas of police reform and voting rights, where progress has apparently stalled. While these issues are central to the Democratic platform, there is an increasing divergence on how aggressive the approach should be, further complicating the Democratic unity. There is also the looming question of Biden’s approval ratings. Their decline, according to many electoral pollsters, could have ripple effects on the midterms. This puts Democrats in a dicey situation – clinging to the coat-tails of a president whose policies they agree with but whose approval ratings threaten their own futures is a gamble. This dilemma has caused some Democrats to distance themselves from the administration’s approach to certain issues. Some have openly expressed disappointment, particularly over the handling of the Afghanistan issue, forcing the Democrats

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