A Democrat Bloodbath in the Midterms? Post Alley Writers Debate

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Editor’s Note: We asked some of Post Alley’s political writers to reflect on prospects for the midterm 2022 elections. An earlier article by Sandeep Kaushik, noting how Seattle and Portland have become poster children for toxic Democratic radical excess, laid the groundwork for this discussion. 

Steve Murch: The Democratic Party is ideologically split, and has spent two years allowing its louder but far less popular side to set the terms. Perhaps this election will finally force an answer to the nagging question: Just who are the Democrats in 2022, anyway? 

Since 2020, the Biden Administration has favored the agenda of Twitter Left over the American Middle at virtually every turn. The 50-50 Senate kiboshed much of it, but the two-year exercise has made crystal clear that the party which once understood centrist working families clearly doesn’t right now. 

For many families, far-left discourse was safely ignored. But in 2020-2022, the policy choices and even lexicon crashed into America’s kitchen like the Kool-Aid guy. Working moms and dads, even those sympathetic to progressivism and proudly displaying “In This House We Believe” posters, spent much of 2020-2022 fighting battles they didn’t expect to fight. They felt a shocking antipathy from school boards and teachers unions. They experienced a fraying of the social contract around public safety. Worsening inflation cut deeply into their household budget, outpacing wage gains. On the cultural front, they see Dem leaders no longer venturing to define what the word “woman” means, cowed by fear of unreasonable backlash. Is this a recipe for a large coalition? Not even Republicans work as hard to elect Republicans. 

Only 27% of Americans believe we are on the right track, according to the Real Clear Politics average of polls. 
With November looming, many Dems now appear to regret some of the results of this leftward shift. Biden clearly wishes to recapture some of his former centrist brand just in time for November. Voters will now weigh in on whether that ship has sailed.

Joel Connelly: Whenever greater gloom envelops Democrats’ prospects in the 2022 elections, there comes new evidence of rancid extremism and genuine danger to the republic posed by a disloyal Republican opposition. Will it register with the voters, and when?

Of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, first African American woman nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, told the Senate on Tuesday: “The last Justice Jackson left the Supreme Court to go to Nuremburg to prosecute the case against the Nazis. This Judge Jackson might have gone there to defend them.” Of the three Republican Senators who will vote to confirm Jackson, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, Tweeted: “Collins, Murkowski, Romney are pro-pedophile.” Ex-President Trump asked Russia’s Vladimir Putin last week to multitask from the invasion of Ukraine to help dig up dirt on the Biden family. The morning NY Times carries headline, “Oklahoma Lawmakers Approve Near-Total Abortion Ban.”

Midterm elections historically favor the party out of power, though it’s a mixed bag. In 1994 and 2010, the last two Democratic presidents suffered, in President Obama’s term, “shellackings.” The Dems enjoy a razor-thin 221-213 majority in the House of Representatives, with more than 30 of their House members already not seeking reelection.

A trio of big factors are working for the Republicans. The Afghanistan debacle cost voter confidence in President Biden’s competence.  A rise in crime is giving resonance to law-and-order themes, fueled by defund-the-police excesses of the Democrats’ far-left.  Inflation has come to dominate not only the news, but normal conversation. Carrying the opposition’s themes, in the media and Congress, is a relentlessly negative, coordinated propaganda apparatus. Its job is to manufacture issues that rile up Republican’s minority base, making up an outsized percentage of those who vote. As well, legislate obstacles discourage voters of color, working women, and young people. “When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about,” Western writer Ed Abbey used to joke. 

The upcoming election is no joke. Seen here, the Democrats still have three lanes open:

  1. The national mood finally improves: We have a bullish job market, which in wages finally helps employees.  Under the Biden administration, the U.S. economy last month added more than 400,000 new jobs, the unemployment rate falling to 3.9 percent. The employment market is stoked by a long-sought, at-last realized package to rebuild and expand infrastructure.
  2. Trump and the wacko-birds: One stage will be the House January 6 committee public hearings in late spring, when the plotting to overturn the 2020 election will be laid before the country. The cast of characters will prove crazier and more sinister than Watergate.  In his vengeance campaign, the ex-President will boost candidates in GOP primaries whose extremism turns off general election voters.
  3. The Supreme Court overturns or eviscerates Roe vs. Wade. Democrats are tanking among independent voters, but when Americans witness a right taken away, support for Republicans among suburban women could go south. One bright spot for Democrats, in the latest NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll found Just 31 percent of voters said they’re more likely to support an anti-abortion candidate.

“We have a story to tell and we need to tell it,” Barack Obama said Tuesday, showing up at the White House to mark the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act.  But his party’s chief hope this year is that the opposition will scare hell out of voters.

David Brewster: The mood of the country is populist. The tenor of Biden’s proposals is governmental programs. That’s the mismatch that can explain why Biden seems to be hurling words into a windstorm.

For Biden and many of his generation’s politicians, the usual solution to a problem is to invent a massive new national program and bureaucracy. That approach now meets skepticism, since these programs are slow to gain traction and deeply compromised to get through Congress. Voters are now very impatient and distrustful that broad government programs solve much. With all the distrust of a polarized and stalemated Congress, why keep proposing massive packages such as Build Back Better? 

A better  approach, I suggest, would be heavy doses of Elizabeth Warren populism (busting up trusts, getting money to the lower classes as in a minimum income grant) and ways of devolving programs to the states. Just send money (as with the Covid relief packages), and don’t send so many regulations. Biden and his generation still think the New Deal approach of heavy national programs, aimed at Big Business/Big Labor/Big Government, has voter appeal. But we are in a more individualistic and distrustful age, and progressives are reverting to the belief in individual states as “laboratories of democracy.” 

Eric Scigliano: It ain’t easy being the party of broccoli while the other side dishes out cheeseburgers and Twinkies. And Covid isn’t the only serious threat that Democrats are obliged to take seriously while Republicans duck, pander, and snipe. 

The climate crisis is an even heavier lift and weightier political burden than the pandemic. As in public health, it’s hard to get credit, much less get voters excited, for losses averted or, worse yet, partly averted. But though the impacts of runaway global heating will be much more dire than those of covid, they’ll unfold over many decades, or centuries. That means the payoff from mitigation will extend much farther into the future, far beyond election-year focal ranges. On top of that, climate systems are more complex, and the numbers involved are more mind-bogglingly large, than immunity levels, infection, and hospitalization rates, etc.

Meanwhile, public attention is seized by one much simpler number: the price at the pump. The Rs are having a field day blaming the Ds for driving it up by squelching new drilling and plugging pipelines. Of course that’s shameless and duplicitous when any impacts from such measures are years away, but what’d you expect? Overleveraged frackers cut back for financial reasons, OPEC (our bosom buddy Saudi Arabia) toed a hard line, and Russia started this little war in Ukraine. But don’t bother us with details—it’s so much easier to blame Joe Biden.

On top of all that, the Rs have gotten smarter about their obstruction. “Chinese hoaxes” and outright denial are out. Instead, they acknowledge that the climate is something pretty important that we really do have to do something about—someday, after we’ve taken care of everything urgent, in particular your gas tank, and not at the expense of Holy Growth. There’s always something more urgent.

Meanwhile, the Ds have to contort themselves to keep a Big Coal millionaire from the coal-and-gas state of West Virginia on their side if they want to pass anything. And wonder how many young climate crusaders will get so disgusted at their compromises that they sit out this November.

It’s a lousy hand to have to play, but Democrats have to play it. Give them credit for trying.

Jean Godden: Many of my inkstained friends are now lamenting that the Democrats will be taking a licking in the Midterms. I remain cautiously optimistic. After all, Biden won a convincing victory in 2020 — no matter how Trump loyalists want to twist results — and I believe the Democratic Party can again hold its own. Much depends on the party’s disparate factions pulling together. Here, to my way of thinking, are six winning factors to stress: 

Rebuild America: Remind the public about Biden’s successful infrastructure package. There are broken bridges and unsafe roads that will be rebuilt.

Health care: The ACA is more popular than the pols who try to tear it down. Promising to add prescription drug controls to the mix would be a winner with the public.

Refunding police: This is a promise that should resonate with middle America. It is possible to have both safety and equal justice and we should work to realize those goals.

Support for labor: Working folks need help standing up to profit-driven corporations. The pandemic made us aware of how labor can help achieve fair wages, safe working conditions, and health benefits. 

Reset and unite: The other party is not our enemy; that’s a role reserved for murderous dictators. Democratic values are under attack and we must stand strong. Ukraine’s courageous leader, President Zelinskyy has shown us the way to inspire a nation. 

Freedom: The Supreme Court’s likely overturning of Roe v. Wade will not play well with a public that by more than 60 percent supports peoples’ right to make choices. Being able to control one’s own body should be a basic freedom.

 Six is a lot of points to stress. But with proper messaging (get out your billboards, fund your TV and newspaper ads) these points could help sway voters and, with luck, preserve Biden’s 2020 victory.

David M. Buerge: Two reasons why Democrats will suffer a bloodbath this next election are Seattle and Portland, as Sandeep Kaushik suggests. Both are liberal progressive bastions and both are poster children for political dysfunction and incapacity.  The late Alabama governor George Wallace had a point when he said there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans.  The chief concern of both parties is not national leadership but the leaderships’ comfortable survival. The Republicans have become the party of racism, reaction, robbery, and riot because those evils serve the interests of leaders who seek to retain power by manipulating constituents who fear losing their  privileged status, real or imaginary.  Democrats have become the party of elites, the status quo, investment portfolios, and mental masturbation who maintain their privilege by stoking social and economic division. 

Politicians of both parties seek office to maintain and improve their lifestyles.  When Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer express irritation at efforts to deny their use of insider information to boost stock portfolios, their and their colleagues’ motives become clearer.  They and Republicans have one foot in the trough and would like two. For Democrats, huge governmental agencies court and comfort contributors and constituents eager to benefit in the modern spoils system. The strangulation large agencies impose on civic and economic vitality most punish historically disenfranchised racial and ethnic minorities, working class and, increasingly, middle class victims of downsizing, who are shocked, said Mark Twain, as Presbyterians who find themselves suddenly in Hell.

In 2016, Democrats lost to the least qualified and most divisive Presidential candidate in our history. They barely won the House and Senate in 2020. Now they face catastrophe.  Their blindness, conceit and cynicism have done them in.  Worse, their political incapaciy has left the door open to those even more adept at malevolence and deceit. 

Eric Redman: Since WWII the GOP base has always represented at least 35% of voters, fueled by the “paranoid style of American politics” and fringe media, as historian Richard Hofstader wrote.  But the GOP base did not entirely throttle our government institutions.  During Watergate the base stuck with Nixon to the end, as did much of the Congressional GOP, but when the rest of the public turned sharply against him, enough GOP Members of Congress did too.

At the time, however, there were three big national TV and radio networks and maybe ten newspapers of national stature, all providing somewhat elastic guardrails on political speech.  There were no cable news channels, no right wing talk shows, no openly right wing Justices, no social media over which crazy and vitriolic nonsense could be spewed.  No one gave social permission for that stuff to be said out loud or inflame others.  Americans mostly relied on the same sources of information, and a majority of Americans generally shared the same conclusions — as Americans could be counted on to do when they shared the same information. 
With talk radio came Rush Limbaugh’s discovery that you can get rich with a fanatically devoted minority market share.  Copycats emerged.  Murdoch profited from this discovery, which allowed him to slash newsrooms to the bone, helping force the MSM to gut their own reporting. Today, network TV’s share of nightly eyeballs is almost minuscule.  A cacophony of right wing voices rage, and feeling outraged is a drug that feels good.

The middle believes (not without cause) that the top doesn’t care about them, only about getting richer and (among prosperous liberals) about actively promoting people on lower social rungs, other races, and women.  People will fight not to fall to the bottom rung.  And few liberals or centrists want to devote to politics the all-encompassing time and unbalanced zeal of the right.  As with the NRA, fewer numbers of infinitely more engaged true believers beats much larger numbers of us who just want to lead “normal” lives.  We can’t rouse ourselves to save the Republic, and most of our kids have no idea what’s at stake. 

Mort Kondracke: No question Democrats are facing a bloodbath in November. A new president’s party almost always loses House seats and if the president’s approval is below 50%, the average loss is 43 House seats, which would be 38 more than Republicans need to take control. And this year the electorate is deeply unhappy. The gap on the direction of country is +37 wrong track. Not as bad as Obama’s 50+ in 2011, but bad.

Why? Forty-year high in inflation (hardly all Biden’s fault or in his power to control, though 2021 Covid bill contributed. Presidents always get blamed for economic problems.) Rs are also up +13 on national security, which I can’t explain: Biden deserves it for Afghan withdrawal debacle, but I think he’s done well on Ukraine. Rs only up 7 on immigration, though Biden has lost control of the border and this decision to cancel Trump’s send-‘em-back policy will hurt more.

I don’t concur with the idea that Biden gave into far left in his first year. He hasn’t advocated defunding the police or Medicare for All, though his energy policy now looks misguided in context of Ukraine. I agree with the idea he operated as though he was FDR — going big on spending proposals, even though he cut back in most cases. And he had such narrow margins in Congress he was at the mercy of Joe Manchin and Krysten Soinema . (Larry Summers rightly said COVID bill was inflationary, but Build Back Better would have lowered costs. I don t know why Biden&Co didn’t make more out of that.)

I do think Dems have done a lousy job of touting what they have achieved, and that Rs have no program and ability to do a lot of damage (restrained only by    Biden’s veto). I also think Ds have not done enough to make preserving American democracy more of a top-tier issue. The party is still owned by Donald Trump, who tried to overturn the results of a free election, and most all Republicans in Congress let him off. 

Final point: the public overwhelmingly and rightly thinks that government serves the interests of rich people and their corporations, not the public. The answer is wholesale political reform and there’s a large national citizens movement pushing it, wholly ignored by the media. 

Ross Anderson: The Democrats’ problem is essentially the same as the Republicans’.  We don’t listen to each other. As Eric Redman says, this is largely due to the loss of a common source of information – political, cultural and everything else.  

We all grew up with newspapers that had different partisan stances, but the national news came from AP and UPI. The TV news networks were virtually interchangeable, so people in Seattle and Des Moines and Yakima were consuming the same news.  Sure, much of that information – from Japanese internment to Vietnam and Iraq — turned out to be wrong.  But at least we were all on the same page.

Today we all turn to information sources that confirm what we already believe about the world.  We all think we know what the other side believes.   Democrats  think Republicans are uneducated, fundamentally racist, homophobic.  Republicans believe Democrats are all pointy-headed elitist potheads far more worried about the sensitivities of gay people and trans people and Salvadoran refugees than we are with farmers or homebuilders. (Well, I think that’s what they think….)

How do we change that? Reach out to each other. Talk less and listen more. Indulge in some genuine curiosity.  Why are Trump Republicans so angry?   When was the last time we asked?  And, if we don’t really know, how would we get anybody to rethink their vote?

Political parties cannot and will not do that. It’s not their job. That’s the challenge to journalists.   What can a site like Post Alley do to help us understand each other?

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19 COMMENTS

  1. We are very lucky we can adjust the political power every 2 years.When nothing has been made better, the voters ask for change.
    We are living, currently, through a social movement meant to right every historical wrong. This sounds great until the realities of life bump up against. Too many politicians see this as most important, until the loss of governmental power looms. The upcoming midterms are not a popularity contest like a presidential race, but a loudly voiced opinion of what has been and must be done.

    • Read the suggested Real Clear article and suggest there is simpler explanation. In 2020 we voted for “Not Trump” . In 2022 it will be “Enough of this”. In 2024 it will be “Not Biden”.

  2. “The rule of recent” applies here: Voters minds forgot the COVID unemployment help, the ufixated on what has happened “recently.” “Recent” right now – border issue, inflation and interest rates, gas price, Ukraine, etc. spelling disaster for Democrats nationally.
    Within our State, Democrats failure to show even a modicum of fiscal restraint builds on the “tax and spend” profile. And Jay Inslee vetoing bi-partisan legislation to help eastern Washington making things for all Democrats.

  3. From a few tidbits released today at Punchbowl News from the Jonathan Martin and Alex Burns’ new book, “This Will Not Pass,” which gives a sense of the ideological divides within the Democratic Party’s congressional caucus:

    Pelosi privately blames progressives for nearly costing Democrats the House and said AOC and Jayapal were fighting to be “queen bee” of the left. “In a few strictly confidential conversations she pointed a finger leftward. Pelosi told one senior lawmaker that Democrats had alienated Asian and Hispanic immigrants with loose talk of socialism. In some of the same communities, the Italian Catholic speaker said, Democrats had not been careful enough about the way they spoke about abortion among new Americans who were devout people of faith.”

    “During the infrastructure vote, Pelosi was angry “and in private she vented about the progressive blockade that had forced her to cancel the infrastructure vote. … She told another House Democrat that Pramila Jayapal and Ocasio-Cortez were vying to be the ‘queen bee’ of the left, but that their reward might be serving in the House minority after the next election.”

    https://punchbowl.news/newsletter/

  4. What Joel and Jean said: There’s still time for Democrats to change the narrative before November and for non-Trumpist Republicans to back candidates not bent on transforming USA into an authoritarian state.

  5. I somehow failed to include this item from another Post Alley writer, Tom Corddry, reflecting on the COVID factor:

    Tom Corddry: COVID presents elected officials at every level with a political Hobson’s Choice: If you impose measures to reduce/prevent illness and death and are successful, you don’t get much credit for preventing a bad thing that didn’t happen, but you DO get blamed for the negative consequences of the mitigation efforts. In the case of COVID, about which we knew very little at first, the kitchen sink we threw at it almost certainly reduced total deaths (no credit for that), but also imposed a lot of constraints on people, some of which did little good and lots of harm.

    This problem is not in the past; it’s in the present and future. This virus is very likely to surge again down the road. If the administration responds aggressively, people will be mad. If it doesn’t, people will be mad. People are literally sick and tired of COVID, and just want it to go away. That’s not an option, so the party in power will pay a high price, as Trump did in 2020. COVID has also been a major driver of inflation and has exposed the weaknesses in many of the agencies tasked with maintaining public health. Even now, Democrats are acceding to Republican demands to eliminate funding for global suppression of COVID, even though we all know that until COVID is tamed globally it’s a menace domestically. By in effect voting to “Let COVID be COVID” in the rest of the world, Republicans are voting to keep the COVID albatross hung around the neck of the Biden administration for as long as possible, in hopes of winning this November and in 2024.

    Whether explicitly or not, the Biden administration seems to be acting on the idea that people aren’t terrified by high levels of COVID infection and death, as long as it’s at a predictable level, and not likely to explode into something much worse. After all, we live our lives despite 3 million deaths/year from other causes. If COVID settles into being a cause of several hundred thousand deaths/year — less than cancer and cardiovascular but more than Alzheimer’s and suicide — we’ll get used to it. Long COVID will take longer to “blend in,” but we got used to wounded war veterans being stashed away and screwed over, so we’ll get used to Long COVID victims suffering quietly on the margins too.

    In a cold-blooded way, this argues that Dems should more or less ignore COVID, focus on inflation no matter what, and gamble that successive COVID waves will be moderate enough to no longer move the needle against them.

    • Politically speaking, Tom Corddry lays out the issues well. It is very unfortunate that our society is like this, but you can count on Dems to make the worst out of any hand they are given.

      “After all, we live our lives despite 3 million deaths/year from other causes. If COVID settles into being a cause of several hundred thousand deaths/year — less than cancer and cardiovascular but more than Alzheimer’s and suicide — we’ll get used to it.”

      Though the conclusion is unfortunately spot on, the problem with this analysis is our ability to control the cause, which shapes our acceptance. I don’t have to worry about Alzheimer’s or suicide because there’s literally nothing I can do to prevent Alz, and I can choose not to commit suicide. If I’m concerned about cancer or cardio, I can make practical lifestyle choices to mitigate the chances. Without isolating myself as bubble girl, I am almost certain to get Covid at some point.

      I suggest a more apt analogy for Covid would be guns. There were approx 20,000 murders by gun in 2020, the vast majority of which were beyond reasonable control of the victim. So what if there were 500,000 murders annually by gun, a 25-fold increase? Would we just get used to it? Apparently we would.

  6. “**Steve Murch:** The Democratic Party is ideologically split, and has spent two years allowing its louder but far less popular side to set the terms… Since 2020, the Biden Administration has favored the agenda of Twitter Left over the American Middle at virtually every turn.”

    Huh??? What evidence is there for this? How are things going for climate change? Workers rights? Women’s rights? LGBTQ+ rights? Wealth inequality? All the evidence points to all the same “centrist” & “moderates” are in power doing the same “centrist” & “moderate” agendas they’ve been doing for 50 years. All the evidence points to the same Wall Street & corporations running the show.

    “**David M. Buerge:** Two reasons why Democrats will suffer a bloodbath this next election are Seattle and Portland, as Sandeep Kaushik suggests… The late Alabama governor George Wallace had a point when he said there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans… Democrats have become the party of elites, the status quo, investment portfolios, and mental masturbation who maintain their privilege by stoking social and economic division.”

    And I could point to any number of red states that are bastions of horribleness – why aren’t Republicans going to suffer a political blood bath? Why aren’t Repubs suffering a political blood bath fore the last 25 years of horribleness, let alone the 4 under Trump? Why would the voters in Wisconsin or Ohio care about the excesses of local politics in WA and OR, and not the excesses in Texas or Florida?

    You’re quoting George Wallace to make a point that Repubs and Dems are all the same? A white supremest, and all-around horrible person that caused much human suffering.

    And your description of the Democrates fits Republicans just as well. You think it’s Dems who are stoking social division? What I see politically are Repubs passing law after law to take rights away from people and demonize LGBTQ+ people. But you think that = Dems stoking social division. And yes, Dems are calling out wealth inequality which is one of the bigges threats to our democracy – see Russia oligarchy for how that works out. But I suppose these are all issues that we should be okay with and keep our mouths shut.

    “**Ross Anderson:** The Democrats’ problem is essentially the same as the Republicans’.  We don’t listen to each other… Why are Trump Republicans so angry? When was the last time we asked?  And, if we don’t really know, how would we get anybody to rethink their vote?”

    Seriously??? When Trump won in 2016, we were force-fed a daily dose of reporters in small town diners asking what Repubs think. And what we learned over and over again is that they are low-information stupid people who have consumed a steady diet of Fox New propaganda.

    Here’s my argument: Centrist and moderate Dems have all the political power and have been playing the “don’t do anything to upset Repub voters” for 50 years, and where has that gotten us?

    We tend to think of right-wing and left-wing extremes, but there’s a centrist-wing extreme that trot out all the same centrist/moderate talking points that we’ve been hearing since at least the Clinton administration. And it’s grossly over-represented here at Post Alley, and that’s quite disappointing. I was hoping Post Alley would be a smarter publication than that.

  7. There’s no clearer example of Biden’s unwise deference to his leftward flank than his surprise, last-minute reversal to hitch the fate of a broadly popular, bipartisan infrastructure bill to the entirely forgettable progressive laundry-list Build Back Better social spending bill, whose only lasting memory for a great many Americans was its total cost. It was going to the lesser of $3 trillion, or whatever Joe Manchin would have agreed to. He let the progressive wing dictate both the terms and the brand, until it ran headlong into opposition from two moderates: Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema.

    When that gambit predictably fell apart in a 50-50 Senate, Team Biden then moved on to a very brief and half-hearted “voting rights” push, which many saw as an attempt to federalize election control to favor one side, again at the whim of the leftward flank. Predictably, having not laid any groundwork for it, that too failed to gain any momentum. During the 2020 unrest related to policing, many senior leaders in the party embraced defund/abolish. Jerry Nadler labeled Antifa “a myth,” and Speaker Pelosi said she “doesn’t particularly care about statues.” There was a tremendous deference to the left flank of the party when it came to prolonged school closures, etc.

    Just because bills haven’t been passed (again because of a 50-50 Senate and close House), doesn’t mean they didn’t spend a whole lot of energy trying.

    • Related data, though it must be emphasized that the median Seattle-area voter is likely to be left of these statistics:

      * In a July 2021 study, 45% of American voters felt the Democratic Party is “too liberal,” which is up 5 points since 2017, compared with 37% who said the GOP is “too conservative,” which was unchanged from 2017

      * 46% of independents said Democrats are “too liberal,” compared with 34% who said the Republican Party is “too conservative.”

      * 45% of voters say the Democratic Party is on the right track, up from 32% four years ago.

      [Personally, like many pieces in political discourse today, I think this survey conflates the terms “liberal” and “progressive.” These two terms really are no longer equivalent, and the ideological split to which I’m referring relates directly to the liberal v. progressive wings.]

      Source: https://morningconsult.com/2021/07/26/state-of-the-parties-ideology-extremes/

      A second piece from Brookings also sheds light on just how important moderates are in recent elections. While most liberals are Democrats, many moderates are either Independents or Republicans. And moderates formed the plurality of voters electing Biden in 2020, outnumbering self-identifying liberal voters by 5.6%:

      Source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2021/07/23/have-democrats-become-a-party-of-the-left/

      • Steve, I appreciate your attempt at backing up your POV, but none of what you’re providing means anything other than to suggest the Dems are likely to get slaughtered in the elections. As a “moderate” (conservative), you have a very narrow world-view, and because of it, you have a poor perspective of why Dems are likely going to lose.

        What does “too liberal” and “too conservative ” even mean respective to those who answered that? Like Christian Nelson’s uninformed comment below?

        The point isn’t what voters say to a pollster – we know that the majority of voters are low-information, hypocritical and liars. They’ll say they care about “kitchen table” issues, and then vote against their interests because they’re scared of whatever the Repubs & Fox News are selling that week – immigrants, BLM, transgender people… or just because they’re too intellectually lazy to learn anything about what they’re actually voting for. And much of it is peer pressure and bullying.

        The Repubs have not shown one iota of wanting to address “kitchen table” issues – their entire political agenda is one of fear, hate, and misinformation. And that trumps voters own best interests. Which is what Repubs counts on.

        Voters say they want most of the things Dems are pushing for policy-wise, but that’s not how they vote consistently. And if the last 50 years (if not the last 500) has taught us anything, it’s that your strategy is a failure in the long-term. Because it only feeds the downward spiral into authoritarianism. We already know this.

        • “Voting against their own self interest.” It’s been a comforting explainer for a while, but it’s false comfort. It postpones introspection.

          It is true that when voters are asked if they’d like benefits in the abstract (debt forgiveness, free childcare, etc.), they usually say “Yes”, but when a survey includes the likely costs and requirements, the picture is decidedly more mixed. If I asked someone if they’d like a free Tesla, they’d likely say “Yes.” If I tell them how much it costs, the picture is decidedly more mixed. And the left, broadly (with the notable exception of Bernie Sanders) hasn’t been very good about delving in to the cost side of the picture.

          Case in point: just this past September, 17 Nobel Laureate economists wrote a letter supporting the massive Build Back Better $3T+ social spending bill, dismissing inflation risks. How’s that working out? Today, we hear of 8.5% inflation, a 40+ year high, which wipes out wage gains and then some.

          https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/3259197-nobel-economists-were-dead-wrong-on-inflation-dont-expect-an-apology/

    • I would also add Biden & other Democrats’ embrace of gender ideology and fast-tracking of social & medical transitioning of youth.

      Abortion rights complicates matters. However, it seems like the greater threat to women’s rights comes from gender ideology and the erasure of women’s spaces and accomplishments.

      And, of course, all of the systemic racism and equality of outcomes business is a whole nother can of worms.

      • Hi Christian, what do you mean by “Biden and Dems embrace of gender ideology and fast-tracking of social & medical transitioning of youth”?

        As far as I can tell, Biden and Dems support the same civil protections for transgender people as for all other citizens of this country. Things like not being fired from a job because they’re transgender. Or not being denied housing. Do you think it’s okay to discriminate against transgender people on the basis of their gender? By your comment, it seems like you’re okay with that.

        I suppose trans youth being provided with access to health care, including puberty blockers = “fast tracking” to you? I suppose you think DeSantis and Abbot are doing the right thing for the kids by denying them gender care and having them outed, and having social services investigating parents of trans youth for child abuse?

        How are transgender people a greater threat to women’s rights and their accomplishments than outlawing abortion, arresting doctors providing healthcare, and arresting women for self-induced abortions? One trans swimmer comes along, and that’s the end of women’s rights and sports?

        How is 1% of the population this much of a threat to you and the 150 million women in this country?

        Hey Steve, say hello to Christian.

        • A couple of weeks ago, the White House released guidelines on youth social & medical transition (including hormones, puberty blockers and surgery) based upon some pretty recent research. Whereas a number of European countries are starting to pull back the reins, due to risks outweighing perceived benefits.

          Via a number of state and federal policies and court rulings, men are being allowed entry to women’s bathrooms and sports leagues (not just a matter of one swimmer) and male prisoners are being moved into women’s prisons.

          Recommended reading:

          The Abolition of Sex, by Kara Dansky
          Irreversible Damage, by Abigail Schrier
          Trans, by Helen Joyce

          • Christian has obviously shown his true colors.

            Anyone interested in actual facts can google:
            “FACT SHEET: Biden-⁠Harris Administration Advances Equality and Visibility for Transgender Americans”

  8. On April 4, former Secretary of Labor and economics professor Robert Reich opined that Trump would win the midterm for Democrats. Perhaps unlikely, but I hope he’s on the right track. Scared as hell if / when Rs retake House and Senate.
    Here’s a link to Professor Reich’s article. Thanks Jean, Joel, David and all for the astute comment. Enjoy.
    https://www.eurasiareview.com/06042022-robert-reich-how-trump-will-win-the-midterms-for-the-democrats-oped/

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