The president of the United States, equal parts senescent and feckless, garners record-shattering low approval ratings seemingly each week. This week, a new Quinnipiac University survey found that a paltry 31% of Americans approve of the way Joe Biden is handling his job. Among political independents, that number is, somehow, considerably lower: 23% approval, compared with 67% disapproval. Overall, nearly three-quarters of Americans hope that Biden does not seek a second term in office.
It is not difficult to figure out why. The republic is not in good shape. Unforced foreign policy blunders, such as the botched Afghanistan withdrawal, embarrass America on the world stage. Our homeland territorial integrity has never been more undermined, as a wide-open southern border permits an unprecedented flow of smugglers, traffickers and other miscreants. Homicide and other violent crime, which skyrocketed in the 2020 “summer of love” riots, continue to spike; the New York City subway is unsafe, and Chicago is a veritable war zone. Mobocracy runs amok; a sitting Supreme Court justice just faced a near-assassination attempt. Inflation, now over 9% and smacking those lower on the economic ladder, is at a four-decade high; the national average for gasoline is well over $4 per gallon.
Yet, amidst these remarkable challenges confronting the American people, the Biden administration and Democratic Party elites would rather focus on the overarching imperatives of climate change hysteria, abortion up until birth and a faraway war in Eastern Europe that has become utterly disconnected from the American national interest. This raises the obvious, but nonetheless crucial, question: How, exactly, did modern Democrats become this out of touch with the American people?
Energy policy is perhaps the best example. Most lower- and middle-income Americans drive cars or trucks as part of their daily commutes; they cannot resort to urban rail, let alone the “work from home” that has become a post-COVID hallmark of the professional-managerial laptop class. Bank account-busting gasoline prices directly cut into stagnant wages, affecting blue-collar families’ very ability to put food on the table.
But Biden, as recently as this month, still continues to deny new drilling permits in Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico. He failed on his recent Middle East trip to secure a durable commitment from Saudi Arabia, or OPEC more generally, to boost production. Worse, he openly flirts with declaring a “national emergency” on climate change, the ultimate upper-income “limousine liberal” hobbyhorse, notwithstanding the fact the U.S. only contributes about 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions and the obvious reality that draconian unilateral reductions to fossil fuel extraction and usage would destroy already-battered consumers. In a bit of loose-lipped candor, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, testifying this week before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, let slip his belief that “the more pain” Americans feel at the pump, “the more benefit” there is for electric vehicle owners.
Such astounding disdain and haughtiness from a Cabinet official, if it were to come under a Republican administration, would make headline-grabbing fodder for weeks. It would dominate the late-night shows, as Jimmy Kimmel poked fun at those nasty, “Gordon Gekko”-esque robber baron Republicans.
Democrats fail to appreciate that America is truly blessed to sit atop such an abundant wellspring of hydrocarbons. To not only ignore and fail to take advantage of that blessing, but to actively thwart it and instead celebrate “pain” by focusing on the alleged virtue of electric vehicle ownership, is downright evil. (Incidentally, the average electric car costs 82% of the median American household income.)
But energy policy, though a particularly acute example, is in this respect hardly unique. Current Democratic priorities have never been so far removed from the sensibilities of the median American citizen.
As the contentious issue of abortion returns to the states following the landmark Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision, congressional Democrats rush to statutorily codify national abortion access right up until birth. George Soros-funded “progressive prosecutors,” such as George Gascon in Los Angeles and Alvin Bragg in Manhattan, continue to fan the flames of unrest and anarchy, undeterred by last month’s stunning recall of like-minded San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin. The fight for Ukraine, a deeply corrupt country whose security establishment just endured Stalin-esque “treason purges,” is held up as the defining struggle for Western liberal democracy. Rewriting Title IX to encompass transgenderism — by executive fiat, no less — may imperil women’s locker rooms and destroy women’s sports, but is foisted upon us by the neoliberal establishment as “progress,” tout court.
The priorities of the modern Democratic Party are comically out of touch with those of the American people, who simply want safe communities, stable prices, secure borders and to be left alone by the COVID-era biomedical security state. Democrats don’t talk about any of that, at best — and they outright impede those prerogatives, at worst. The transformation of the Democratic Party from a one-time working man’s labor party into today’s identity politics-driven woke monstrosity did not transpire overnight, but that transformation is now complete. And the result is unseemly.
The dog that is the Democratic Party is manipulated by a multifaceted tail that is a grotesque fusion of criminal adulation, Gaia worship, Malthusian radicalism, eugenicist lust and a gender ideology downstream of the worst excesses of American academia. Maybe that will play well for certain Upper West Side and West Hollywood voting precincts this November, but it won’t play very well in real America.
Josh Hammer is opinion editor of Newsweek, a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation, counsel and policy advisor for the Internet Accountability Project, a syndicated columnist through Creators and a contributing editor for Anchoring Truths. A frequent pundit and essayist on political, legal and cultural issues, Josh is a constitutional attorney by training and the co-host of two podcasts: Newsweek's "The Debate" and the Edmund Burke Foundation's "NatCon Squad."
An outspoken conservative, Josh opines on conservative intellectual trends, contemporary domestic and foreign policy debates, constitutional and legal issues, and the intersection of law, politics and culture. He has been published by many leading outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsweek, National Affairs, American Affairs, The National Interest, National Review, City Journal, First Things, Public Discourse, Law & Liberty, Tablet Magazine, Deseret Magazine, The Spectator, The American Conservative, The American Mind, American Greatness, American Compass, Anchoring Truths, Townhall, The Epoch Times, The Daily Wire, Fortune, Fox Business, Pairagraph, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, The Forward, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Jewish Journal. He has had formal legal scholarship published by the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy and the University of St. Thomas Law Journal.
Josh is a college campus speaker through Intercollegiate Studies Institute and Young America's Foundation, as well as a law school campus speaker through the Federalist Society. Prior to Newsweek and the Daily Wire, where he was an editor, Josh worked at a large law firm and clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Josh has also served as a John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute.
Josh graduated from Duke University, where he majored in economics, and from the University of Chicago Law School. He lives in Miami, but remains an active member of the State Bar of Texas.