New Ads Pitch Biden’s Biggest Accomplishment To Voters In 2 Key Swing States

President Joe Biden speaks at the North American International Auto Show on Sept. 14, 2022, in Detroit. Biden announced a $900 million investment in electric vehicle infrastructure on the national highway system in 35 states.
President Joe Biden speaks at the North American International Auto Show on Sept. 14, 2022, in Detroit. Biden announced a $900 million investment in electric vehicle infrastructure on the national highway system in 35 states. Bill Pugliano via Getty Images

When reminded about it, 7 in 10 Americans say in polls that they support President Joe Biden’s landmark climate and social spending law, the Inflation Reduction Act. But only about half of the country has ever heard “a lot” or even “some” about it.

A new $1.4 million advertising campaign in Michigan and Wisconsin aims to change that for voters in the two key battleground states.

TV spots set to air over the next three weeks on local channels in Milwaukee and in Michigan’s Grand Rapids and Flint areas pitch the Biden administration’s legislative cornerstone as the spark for a new manufacturing boom in a region long devastated by outsourcing.

Passed without a single Republican vote in 2022, the law pumped hundreds of billions of dollars ― by some projections, potentially trillions ― in the form of federal tax credits and subsidies into building out a domestic economy for green energy and competing directly with China. The legislation spurred what may be the dawn of a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S.: With hundreds of clean energy projects and factories to make electric car batteries and solar panels announced since Biden signed the law, federal data shows that manufacturers’ spending on construction has doubled and the U.S. has added nearly 1 million new manufacturing jobs. 

So far, Republican-dominated states have reaped the biggest benefits, yet even Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp ― a Republican whose state has become a magnet for federally backed green-energy investments ― said as recently as March that former President Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, would “be better than Joe Biden.”

Paid for by Evergreen Collaborative, a climate group founded by alumni of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s ill-fated but influentialcampaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, the ads offer a starkly different gubernatorial viewpoint.

The Democratic governors of Michigan and Wisconsin, who both won reelection against Republican challengers in 2022 and now enjoy higher approval ratings than Biden, appear in the ads. Trump won both states in 2016 and lost them in 2020, but polls now show the former president tied with or ahead of Biden. With Trump still polling strong despite a felony conviction, Biden’s best chance of defeating Trump in the Electoral College depends on winning both Midwestern states.

In a 30-second spot, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, clad in a stylish black jacket, speaks to the camera from a shop floor where two workers in T-shirts assemble equipment and another welds in the background. Accompanied by pounding rock music and the governor’s narration, we see scenes of General Motors’ electric pickup trucks and Biden trotting out on stage between battery-powered SUVs at the Detroit Auto Show.

“Make it in Michigan. It’s not just a slogan — it’s a rallying cry, and it’s what we’re doing every single day,” says Whitmer, a rising Democratic star widely considered a strong contender for the party’s presidential nod in 2028. “Making electric cars that power our economy and our future. And now, working with the Biden administration, batteries that used to be made in China are being made all across our state.”

The Wisconsin ad opens with an apparent homage to President Ronald Reagan’s famed 1984 TV spot declaring “It’s morning again in America” ― perhaps a nod toward the fact that the economy under Biden closely resembles the inflation and labor market under the Republican 40th president.

“The morning light. It’s not just pretty ― it’s powerful,” says a male narrator with a gentle Midwestern accent. “And now, it’s set to energize over 750,000 Wisconsin homes. And Governor Evers is working with the Biden administration to do even more.”

The camera then cuts to an aerial shot of a suburban home under renovation to add solar roof panels and caulk the edges of new, energy-saving windows.

The final seconds consist of footage of Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, slender and bespectacled in a blue suit, speaking at the state Capitol. “Wisconsinites, this is the future we spent years working hard to build together,” he says.