STIREWALTISMS: UKRAINE SCANDAL CATCHES UP TO TRUMP
American politics is not quite on hold this week, but we are definitely processing.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine will have dramatic effects on American political attitudes, but we don’t know exactly in what way. President Joe Biden should expect some increase in support as Americans show bipartisan unity in support of the Ukrainian struggle. It’s been many years since we’ve seen this kind of consensus on a major issue, and traditional political rules hold that such unity should be to the benefit of the president.
But Biden is attempting to use that goodwill to try to restart his stalled domestic agenda. This looks like a pretty obvious mistake, especially given the unlikelihood of Congress doing anything of substance for the remainder of this election year. It would seem far wiser for Biden to instead be focused almost entirely on his showdown with Russian ruler Vladimir Putin. Particularly given Biden’s stumble in Afghanistan, now would be a very good time for the president to lean heavily into his job as commander in chief.
This month will see big changes across the country in coronavirus restrictions, too. Will Americans experience relief in a great enough share to shift the discussion? Will high energy prices rob voters of the benefits of a rapidly improving economy? Primary season is now underway. Will personal attacks and performative kookishness reinforce voter concerns about the weirdness of the Republican Party?