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Democrats’ Mystery: The best way to Brighten a Presidency and a National Mood

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“While President Biden and Democrats work to lower costs and proceed the historic economic recovery made possible by the American Rescue Plan, Republicans have done every part they’ll to attempt to stand in the way in which,” Jaime Harrison, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said in an announcement.

Yet months of national polls show that Americans have a vastly different perception of the party in power. Even in overwhelmingly liberal Los Angeles, private Democratic polling in April found Mr. Biden’s favorability rating at only 58 percent, in keeping with an individual with direct knowledge of the information.

Democratic tensions over messaging have been on display in Ohio, where candidates on this week’s primaries reflect the complete spectrum of competing views.

Ms. Brown, who faces a contested primary in a safely Democratic seat and was endorsed by Mr. Biden, is running hard on the bipartisan infrastructure law.

She echoed other House Democrats in promoting the message that “Democrats have been delivering.”

But Biden advisers have privately indicated that pitch tests poorly as a celebration slogan. And at one other Ohio event in late April, Nina Turner, a former state senator who’s difficult Ms. Brown from the left in a rematch, suggested that Democrats had not delivered nearly enough.

She urged, amongst other priorities, universal cancellation of student debt — or, at a minimum, canceling $10,000 in federal student debt per borrower (Ms. Brown also supports some student debt forgiveness measures). Mr. Biden, who endorsed the $10,000 goal in 2020, has postponed payments, and significant student debt has been erased during his tenure, but some have called on him to do way more. He may take further motion, and there continues to be time to make more progress on the Democratic agenda.

But for now, many on the left are dissatisfied that Democrats, despite controlling Washington, have run aground within the divided Senate on priorities just like the climate and voting rights.

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