President Biden's legislative agenda had a significant victory this week when the Senate passed a trillion dollar infrastructure bill with 19 Republicans joining every Democrat in a rare show of bipartisanship. Throughout the debate Donald Trump unsuccessfully begged Republicans to reject the popular package. All he succeeded in doing was affirming his political impotence.
The next item on the Senate calendar is a companion to the infrastructure bill in the form of a budget reconciliation bill that will likely have to pass with only Democratic votes. However, if Republicans were smart (a long shot at best) they would get behind this bill. And the proof that they would benefit came on Thursday in a Fox News poll.
The poll asked the following question: "Do you favor or oppose the U.S. Senate’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure package? The response was that a significant majority of the American people support the bill 56% to 38% - a decisive 18 point advantage. Reminder: This is a Fox News poll!
With that level of support, how can Republicans oppose it? Here's how: They are wholly committed to pursuing a brazenly partisan strategy of dragging down Biden's approval by dragging down the wellbeing of the nation. Even if it means working against the clear interests of the American people.
They may believe that they have some political cover because Republican support for the bill is a measly 24%, while 88% of Democrats support it. But Republicans are a distinct minority of the population at large and thus, a poor demographic upon which to rest their electoral hopes. And the poll was full of additional bad news for the GOP. For instance...
- Do you approve of the job Joe Biden is doing as president? Yes: 53 - No: 46
- Do you approve of the way Joe Biden is handling the coronavirus pandemic? Yes: 54 - No: 42
- Do you favor the U.S. Senate’s $1 trillion infrastructure package? Yes: 62 - No: 30
- Do you favor proof of a coronavirus vaccine for indoor activities? Yes: 50 - No: 46
- Have you gotten vaccinated against coronavirus? Yes: 69 - No: 29 (Biden voters: 86 - Trump voters: 54)
- Do you think schools should be allowed to require teachers and students to either wear a mask or provide proof of a coronavirus vaccine? Yes: 54 - No: 31
With numbers like that the Republican Party is making a huge mistake with their lock-step opposition to the budget bill, as well as a host of other issues on which the people differ with them. They don't seem to care. They appear to be more concerned about pissing off Trump than the American voters. If so, there will be a political price to pay for that. They stuck with him through two impeachments. They stuck with him through the "Big Lie" and the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol. They even stuck with him though his coup attempts.
It doesn't appear to have done them any good. But it's a safe bet that the GOP will continue to stick with Trump because they simply haven't got the courage to do the right thing. They are more afraid of Trump and his cult disciples than the American people. But come next November they will learn that they should have been more afraid of voters. Well, that's if they still have the ability to learn.
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