In Warnock victory, White House sees validation of cornerstone that great legislative victories have passed
As White House officials ponder the Democrats’ eventual victory of a history-defying midterm election cycle, one constant has been a sense of validation.
For President Joe Biden, the expanded Senate majority secured by the re-election of Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in Georgia on Tuesday night served as a cornerstone in large part to two years of fundamental legislative victories.
“What you saw Senator Warnock do and what you saw Democrats do in the last election is on the President’s agenda – executed on a successful agenda,” the press secretary told reporters. of the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre. “It was a success for the Democrats, but also for President Biden.”
Legislative success will be much harder to come by in the next two years, even with an extra vote in the Senate, officials acknowledge. Republicans will soon take a majority in the House and have made it clear that their opposition to Biden — and his agenda — will serve as the driving force behind their policies and political priorities in the months ahead.
Still, the two years of unified Democratic control, even with the narrowest of majorities, played a vital role in not only blunting sweeping GOP victories but actually securing a Senate seat, according to Biden aides and officials. Congressional Democrats.
While Republicans grappled with the pervasive, disruptive and defining grip of former President Donald Trump, Democrats had an advantage in campaigns driven by legislative achievement. Even Democrats, like Warnock, who sought to distance themselves from Biden and his declining approval ratings, pointed to their legislative successes.
Biden’s program victories included trillions of dollars touching almost every aspect of the US economy, manufacturing, infrastructure, and climate policy, all of which were widely popular when taken in isolation.
Biden has used his campaign appearances to run through the long list of such policies. So have the leading Democratic surrogates – none more than former President Barack Obama.
But as Democrats grappled with the possibility of GOP victories in the weeks leading up to the November election, questions abounded about whether the tangible effect of investment and policy changes had reached voters. .
While White House officials dismissed the criticism, even Biden seemed to acknowledge the possibility.
“We embraced so many good things,” Biden said at a fundraiser days before the election. “They’ve been so good that people haven’t realized how good they are yet.”
Still, Warnock’s campaign served as a window into a strategy built on Biden’s agenda, tailored to the most popular provisions — and those that could be splintered to show the direct effect on Georgia.
In TV ads and speeches throughout his campaign, Warnock has highlighted key elements of Biden’s agenda, including steps to lower prescription drug costs, cap insulin at $35 and boost investment in health care. American infrastructure.
“I want you to remember what your vote did last time,” Warnock told voters at a campaign rally last week, listing bills passed by Congress to support domestic manufacturing and chip manufacturing, as well as to reduce health care costs.
Warnock’s message was echoed in one form or another by Democratic Senate candidates in battleground states across the country, messages given a major boost by a string of legislative successes late in the year. summer.
That success, which included manufacturing and veterans legislation as well as Biden’s fundamental economic and climate law, was a game-changer, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“The turning point really happened this summer, where we passed six major bills – five bipartisan – all of which affected people’s lives,” Schumer told reporters at a press conference Wednesday morning. “Those were the things people wanted.”
Warnock used campaign ads to highlight the $8 million he helped secure for the Port of Savannah from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act. His role in promoting provisions to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors has been both highlighted by Democratic leaders in the White House and Senate and widely highlighted at home.
“The truth is, I’ve been focused on doing everything I can for Georgia. Working with Republicans to promote American technology and expand healthcare for Georgia veterans,” Warnock said in another ad, referring to the $280 billion bipartisan bill to boost chip manufacturing and scientific research in the United States.
Warnock has made his central role behind the scenes in pressing Biden to write off student loan debt a key part of his public campaign.
The executive order is now stalled in court and has an uncertain future despite Biden’s insistence that it pass the test of legality. But its resonance as a voting issue, especially among young voters critical of the Democratic coalition, has been stark for White House officials in the months since its announcement.
White House officials are also keen to point out how Herschel Walker, Warnock’s Republican opponent, has actively opposed Biden’s agenda, attacking climate investments and battery manufacturing and criticizing the Climate Change Act. infrastructure during the primary.
“This is significant new testimony, in an intensely competitive purple state, to the resonance of the Biden agenda and mainstream values with America’s middle class,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates said. .
As Warnock closed what amounted to his fourth election in two years, he was boosted by a significant cash advantage, the opinion of Democrats and Republicans that he had clear momentum and help from top surrogates. like Obama.
Biden himself did not set foot in the state this fall, maintaining his stance that he would do anything candidates ask of him, even if that meant avoiding states like Georgia where his low approval rating was a potential obstacle.
But as Obama spoke alongside Warnock in the final days of the campaign, his former vice president’s agenda was at the heart of his speech, just as it had been for the candidates in previous months.
“Because you didn’t act like it was all over, the Democrats took over the Senate and were finally able to translate that into a better life in a tangible way,” Obama said in a nod to Warnock’s victory in 2021. He then ticked off Biden. agenda, piece by piece.