AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
As Joe Biden’s political fortunes continue to worsen and the Democratic Party’s prospects in November grow increasingly bleak, Democrats bewilderingly appear to be turning to a strategy that is almost guaranteed to end any hope they have of turning their poll numbers around: trying to make the election all about Donald Trump, rather than addressing the real issues Americans are facing.
This week’s January 6th hearings—a now familiar hate-filled co-production of the media and partisan Democrats in Congress—are only the latest example of this anti-Trump obsession and the party’s failure to engage with the public’s genuine concerns.
That Biden and the Democrats should turn to this strategy now is all the more puzzling because when Terry McAuliffe tried the exact same strategy in Virginia last year, it lost him a state that Biden had won by 10 points only 12 months before.
Famously, McAuliffe’s 2021 gubernatorial campaign against Glenn Youngkin went out of its way to avoid the actual issues on the minds of Virginia voters, most prominent among them education and COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, much of McAuliffe’s messaging was centered around one person, and one person only: Donald Trump. The McAuliffe campaign focused its energy almost entirely on tying Youngkin to Trump, convinced that it would be enough to secure the election.
“Virginians, let’s come together to REJECT Trump,” McAuliffe tweeted in October. Even though Trump had been out of office for nearly 10 months by the time Election Day rolled around, McAuliffe failed to make it through seemingly a single campaign event without invoking the former president and the supposed existential threat he posed to the people of Virginia. Throughout debates, speeches, and other appearances, McAuliffe repeatedly referred to Youngkin as a “Trump wannabe” or “Trump in khakis”—a sentiment echoed by Biden when he stumped for McAuliffe last July. During another 17-minute speech Biden gave for McAuliffe in the weeks leading up to the election, he mentioned Trump’s name a whopping 24 times. As Youngkin observed about McAuliffe during the second debate: “There’s an over/under on how many times you’d say Donald Trump. You’re running against me. It’s Terry McAuliffe against Glenn Youngkin.”
For McAuliffe and the entire Democratic establishment behind him, it was quite a shock, then, to see Youngkin emerge victorious last November. Far from discouraging support for Youngkin, McAuliffe’s strategy of tying him to Trump seemed to backfire, with key constituencies in rural areas of the state turning out in huge numbers for Youngkin. One Democratic Senator lamented the result as a “colossal failure on the part of the Democratic Party to have anything for voters to rally behind.”
Yet, in the months since Election Day 2021, there is little evidence to suggest Biden or others in his party have heeded the lessons of that colossal failure, as Democrats appear to be adopting precisely the same strategy heading into the midterms. In recent weeks, Biden has trotted out a series of bizarre anti-Trump talking points that echo McAuliffe’s desperate attempts to malign the former president as some kind of unique danger to the nation—but ultimately, they are falling embarrassingly flat.
For instance, after six months of “research” into the most effective ways to damage Republicans, Biden reportedly settled on the term “ultra-MAGA” as an apparent affront to the former president. “Let me say this carefully: I never expected the ultra-MAGA Republicans, who seem to control the Republican Party now, to have been able to control the Republican Party,” Biden said. Trump himself has since embraced the term, and the National Republican Congressional Committee is now selling t-shirts brandishing the phrase alongside an image of Trump’s face. In an equally puzzling choice of words, Biden also referred to Trump as “the great MAGA king,” a title for which Trump thanked Biden on his newly-launched Truth Social platform. As a Republican political adviser said of the left’s newfound obsession with Trump-related slogans, “It’s almost like they are trying to harm themselves.”
But aimlessly pointing fingers at the former president is not the only similarity between Biden’s and McAuliffe’s floundering political approaches. Just as McAuliffe spent the waning days and weeks of his campaign pushing Critical Race Theory and the idea that parents should have no say in their children’s education, Biden too seems to be going all-in on divisive cultural issues while blithely ignoring or rejecting the existence of real problems of concern to voters. In the last two months alone, Biden has pushed for the cancellation of all student debt, codification of abortion-on-demand into federal law, and cutting off Pell Grants, meal funding, and other federal funds from any school that refuses to succumb to the left’s radical gender ideology. Meanwhile, Biden continues to downplay the devastating effects of inflation and sanctimoniously blame the previous administration for his own failures.
All of this happened even before the Democrats’ January 6 Committee hearings began this week, underscoring for voters that the party believes the former president is truly the most important threat facing the nation—even at a time of soaring gas prices, rampant inflation, war in Europe, and a host of other crises. By all appearances, Congressional Democrats are set to keep beating the January 6th horse all the way through Election Day, apparently convinced—against all evidence and reason—that they can successfully turn the midterms into a referendum on Donald Trump.
As the saying goes, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Though Democrats apparently lack the self-awareness to realize it, with Biden’s new “messaging strategy” and this week’s hearings, they are setting their party up for a massive midterm defeat that mirrors McAuliffe’s loss last November—this time on a national scale.
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