Heading into the November 2022 midterm elections is quite a historic and unique time in our nation’s history. President Joe Biden, a year and a half into his term, seems aloof, confused, and running from one crisis to the next with a cheat sheet of notes in his coat pocket. Given that the President’s party historically suffers losses at the ballot box in the following midterm election, what are the Democratic strategists saying and will the Democrats’ top brass listen?
Outside of a couple of special election races last year, there was really only one major race that strategists on both sides of the aisle were closely watching. The surprising (to Democrats) electoral outcome in Virginias’s off-year gubernatorial race last year saw Republican Glenn Youngkin, a political newcomer, narrowly defeat Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton loyalist, by over 63,000 votes. How could a state that President Joe Biden won in 2020 by over 10 points swing to the right in just 12 months?
Democratic polling firm ALG Research released a sharply worded memo after the race, based on a series of focus groups they conducted with suburban Washington, DC and Richmond-area voters who had voted for Joe Biden in 2020 and who had then voted for or considered voting for Glenn Youngkin in 2021. The top reason ALG Research concluded: “Our weak national brand left us vulnerable,” drawing attention to the fact that “voters couldn’t name anything that Democrats had done.” McAullife also failed in his attempt to make voters think that Glenn Youngkin was equal to Trump. ALG’s memo to Democrats was blunt, “if our most-effective message in 2022 is that Republicans = Trump, we’re going to get creamed.” Another major point of ALG’s November 15, 2021 memo revealed their sentiments, how “voters are unhappy with the direction of the country and don’t think we get it.” Voters across the U.S. have been feeling this way for over a year now. Fast forward to today, and that same sentiment has only grown. A new AP-NORC poll found that 85% of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction. The biggest shift in the new numbers come from Democrats of whom 78% now say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
It appears that the elite’s high up in the Democratic Party headquarters aren’t getting the message, not only from the people they pretend to speak for, but from their own strategists. In Virginia, Democrats thought they knew better than parents about what children should be learning and that simply tying Youngkin to Trump would be effective. Similar dynamics are playing out all across the country.
Another memo released on February 24, 2022, by Democrat consulting firm IMPACT Research, again rang alarm bells for Democrats regarding their obsession with mask mandates and lockdowns. “When 99% of Americans can get vaccinated, we cause more harm than we prevent with voters by going into our third year talking about restrictions. And, if Democrats continue to hold a posture that prioritizes COVID precautions over learning how to live in a world where COVID exists, but does not dominate, they risk paying dearly for it in November.”
These are just a few troubling signs for Democrats who just seem out of touch, incapable, and unworthy of being returned to power at the ballot box this November. The era of James Carville “common-sense” Democrats is over and voters have taken note. How many memos will it take for Democrat leaders to listen to voters who care more about paying the bills than how woke your masked four year old is? Democratic strategists are ringing alarm bells but it doesn’t seem like their party leaders are listening. That’s good news for Republicans’ efforts to stop many of the harmful policy ideas, like hiking taxes on small businesses and more inflationary spending, that continue to be pushed by President Biden against the will of the American people.
Bob Carlstrom is President of AMAC Action