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The biggest flaw in McConnell's case against the Biden agenda

If McConnell were right, and Biden were pushing a "totally left-wing" agenda that "no one voted for," why isn't the president losing public support?
State of the Union
Then Vice President Joe Biden, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell make their way to the House floor for President Obama's State of the Union address on Jan. 12, 2016.Tom Williams / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images file

Over the weekend, Republican officials paid Donald Trump quite a bit of money, only to have the former president lash out wildly at other Republicans. Of particular interest, Trump's tantrum included an attack against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whom the former president called a "dumb son of a b----" and a "stone cold loser."

Two days later, the National Republican Senatorial Committee announced it had rewarded Trump with a new, made-up award.

Yesterday on Capitol Hill, a reporter asked the GOP leader for his reaction. McConnell, not surprisingly, seemed eager to change the subject, and delivered a response that sounded a bit rehearsed:

"Well, what I'm concentrating on is the future. And what we are confronted with here is a totally left-wing administration, with a slight majority in the House, a 50-50 Senate, trying to transform America into something no one voted for last year. No one voted to transform America into something totally different. 50-50 Senate, a couple of seat majority in the House. They want to try to fundamentally change America into something it's never been. And so ... that's what I'm concentrating on."

Right off the bat, the obvious problem with the Kentucky Republican's pushback is that President Joe Biden presented a fairly detailed agenda to the electorate when he was Candidate Joe Biden, and he proceeded to defeat an incumbent president by 7 million votes. McConnell may like to believe that "no one voted for" the White House's agenda, but the fact remains that a majority of the Americans who voted in the 2020 presidential election supported the Democratic ticket -- and everything Biden is doing now is consistent with the plans he touted before the election.

But let's also look at this from a different perspective. Let's work from the assumption that a whole lot of those Biden votes were really anti-Trump votes, so when those 81 million Americans cast ballots for the Democratic president, they weren't necessarily expressing their support for Biden's progressive platform.

Under this reasoning, McConnell may look at the election results and genuinely believe that the president lacks a mandate -- a phrase the minority leader has used frequently of late -- to pursue an ambitious governing agenda.

That, however, leads to the other problem with the Senate Republican leader's position: if McConnell were right, and the American mainstream wanted no part of Biden's progressive overreach, there'd be plenty of evidence of a backlash.

But there isn't.

In fact, the opposite is true. A new Monmouth poll, for example, shows the president's approval rating ticking up to 54% -- which is entirely in line with broader national averages. That's a level of public support Biden's immediate predecessor never achieved, and it's an increase over the president's standing from March.

Similarly, other independent polling has shown even more robust support for most of Biden's policy agenda, including the Democrats' COVID relief package and infrastructure/jobs plan.

If McConnell were right, and Biden were pushing a "totally left-wing" agenda that "no one voted for," why isn't the president losing support? Where's the backlash to the White House's purported overreach?