The Democratic Party and President Joe Biden Face to Rising Left-Wing Populism

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2022-66-12-5-15
V. Zhuravleva,
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation.

Received 01.07.2022. Revised 07.09.2022. Accepted 26.09.2022.

Acknowledgements. The article was prepared within the project “Post-Crisis World Order: Challenges and Technologies, Competition and Cooperation” supported by the grant from Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation program for research projects in priority areas of scientific and technological development (Agreement 075-15-2020-783).

Abstract. After two years in the White House, President Joe Biden, who was elected as a centrist, despite his success in implementing his social agenda by building a compromise with Congress divided between left-wing Democrats and right-wing Republicans, still embraces radical far-left agenda as the next campaign strategy. The Democratic Party consolidates in its progressive agenda which will dominate its ideological development. J. Biden’s formula for success – compromise and centrism, which brought him victory in 2020, over the two years of his stay in the White House proved to be precisely the working formula for interaction with Congress and implementation of social programs. After several months of record low ratings, in August 2022, the popularity of the President improved markedly, returning to the figures of September 2021. The 44% that he received in his support still meant that the majority of society did not approve of his presidency, but it was obvious that his efforts to advance his agenda were appreciated by the public. However, the most important thing about this growth is that it was provided by independent voters. It was their support that the President began to lose after only five months of his stay in the White House, their low assessment explained the depressing support numbers of Summer 2022, and only they could return J. Biden to the game on the eve of the midterm elections, turning him from a burden for his party into its hope. Still independent voters are the most difficult audience for parties and presidents, because unlike the emotionally charged core party supporters who are ready to positively evaluate the president just because he represents their party, the swing voters evaluate the results of the presidency, not the party affiliation. And the return of this electorate to Biden after several legislative victories was a positive assessment of the effectiveness of his government strategy based on compromise. Yet there are big doubts that the Democrats are ready to hear and accept this signal of the swing voters. The logical reorientation of parties towards independent voters and a necessary shift of the agenda to the center of the ideological spectrum is complicated by the instability of moods in this part of society, the complexity of monitoring and forecasting them. Given the prevalence of the logic of electoral struggle, which changes all the social functions of political parties, such a reorientation violates the current basic principle of the American parties’ ideological organization – the success of the agenda is determined by victory in the elections. With the dominance of this logic, it can be assumed that the left-wing vector of the Democratic Party’s development will increase, forcing J. Biden not only to strengthen the left rhetoric, but also to expand the left agenda of his presidency, especially if his party loses control over Congress. The whole domestic political process will be still determined by the ideological conflict between two radical agendas – far-left and far-right.

Keywords: U.S. domestic political process, the Democratic Party, the Progressives, Joe Biden, compromise, far-left agenda, polarization, competitive social agendas, proneness to conflict, swing voters


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For citation:
Zhuravleva V. The Democratic Party and President Joe Biden Face to Rising Left-Wing Populism. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2022, vol. 66, no. 12, pp. 5-15.

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