One of my favorite .gifs on the internet is from the 1990 movie Back To The Future III. I have never watched the film, because to be perfectly honest the second Back To The Future movie was too damn confusing. Seriously, the franchise should have just tapped out when Doc Brown told Marty McFly about his trip to an idealized 2015 at the end of the first flic.
“Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need … roads.”
Ah, nostalgia …
Anyway, the franchise didn’t feel like Hollywood after that … it felt like math homework. Then came the real bummer … when the actual 2015 ended up being an even bigger dystopian disappointment than the “future” portrayed in the 1989 movie. (Sighs).
Anyway, the Back To The Future .gif to which I am referring depicts a spectacular train crash … a flaming steam locomotive careening over the edge of a destroyed trestle bridge in the gorgeous Red Hills near Jamestown, California.
Upon impact with the floor of the ravine, the engine bursts into flames … several times, actually.
(Click to view)
Now … is this train crash an accurate visual representation of the administration of U.S. president Joe Biden? Based on recent polling, yes.
In fact, it could be perceived as excessively complimentary …
“Joe Biden began his presidency with positive job ratings and broad public confidence in his ability to deal with a number of major challenges – particularly the public health impact of the coronavirus,” Pew pollsters noted. “He starts his second year with diminished job approval and majorities expressing little or no confidence in him on many of these same issues, the coronavirus included.”
Biden has seen his approval rating decline by 18 percentage points over the last nine months – while his disapproval has climbed by 17 percentage points.
Take a look …
(Click to view)
(Via: Pew Center)
Even worse, numerous polls have shown the intensity of voters opposing Biden to be dramatically higher than those supporting him – compounding the pernicious impact of the top line approval/ disapproval numbers for his administration.
This trend is also evident in congressional ballots, which indicate GOP voters are far more energized to go to the polls this fall than Democrats. Will this “intensity gap” persist through November? We shall see …
One development that could help sustain it? Today’s announcement that U.S. supreme court justice Stephen Breyer – an appointee of former U.S. president Bill Clinton – is stepping down from his post at the end of the court’s current term.
Breyer, 83, is one of only three members of the nine-member panel appointed by a Democratic president, although chief justice John Roberts (an appointee of former president George Bush) and Brett Kavanaugh (an appointee of Donald Trump) have both voted with the liberal minority on multiple hot-button issues.
Who will Biden nominate? And will he be able to get his choice confirmed?
During his 2020 campaign, Biden promised to nominate a black woman to the high court.
“I’m looking forward to making sure there’s a black woman on the supreme court, to make sure we, in fact, get every representation,” he said during a February 2020 debate in South Carolina.
That promise propelled Biden to a comeback victory in the Palmetto State’s “First in the South” Democratic presidential primary, the first primary in which black voters comprised a majority of the Democratic electorate.
“I commit it that if I’m elected president and have an opportunity to appoint someone to the courts, I’ll appoint the first black woman to the courts,” Biden reaffirmed a month later. “It’s required that they have representation, now it’s long overdue.”
Whomever Biden nominates, he should have no trouble getting his pick confirmed. Democrats and “Republicans” are evenly divided in the 100-member U.S. Senate, but vice president Kamala Harris (who is less popular than Biden, believe it or not) would break a tie in the event of a party-line vote.
Two ostensibly moderate Democrats – Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona – have shown a willingness to buck Biden on certain issues, but not judicial appointments. Both have voted in favor of all of Biden’s lower court picks, and barring some seismic revelation both are likely to fall in line on such a significant vote.
Biden’s problem? A pitched confirmation battle on behalf of an über-liberal nominee will only serve to underscore just how far the 79-year-old politician has drifted from his “moderate” roots – further energizing Republicans and alienating actual moderates.
Biden and Democrats have no margin for error ahead of the 2022 election cycle … and it is hard to see how the successful confirmation of a hard-line, left-of-center supreme court justice will be anything other than another major political miscalculation for this administration.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
(Click to view)
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that Washington Senators’ lid pictured above).
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