AMAC Exclusive – By Herald Boas
The Democrats’ political setback in the off-year 2021 elections has, as many conservative (and yes, some liberal) observers had predicted, now occurred. Each of the two major battleground states, Virginia and New Jersey, had in recent years reliably and heavily elected Democrats at the national and state levels, and at the outset of the campaign were considered safe for President Joe Biden’s party.
It wasn’t just the two gubernatorial races that provided the surprise, but a widespread shift of certain voter groups in many places, especially in the suburbs, which must now alarm Democrat strategists as they head into next year’s key national mid-term elections.
The key to Democrat successes in 2018 and 2020 was their improved performance in the suburbs, and their continued support among black and Hispanic voters. If 2021 is a reliable guide, their gains in the suburbs have evaporated, and their support among ethnic voters, especially Hispanics, has seriously eroded.
The unpopularity of the more “progressive” Democrat agenda was well-known to all but the most ideological Democrat strategists and officials before the 2021 election, so the real political question now is: Why have President Biden and congressional Democrats pursued the course of promoting these policies? Are they politically out of touch, or do they have a Machiavellian power grab strategy to transform U.S. political culture and its democratic (small “d”) capitalism?
Whether they have a political tin ear or are employing deliberate guile, any secret ambitions to gain public approval of their more radical policy goals were just shattered by 2021 voters.
Early attempts to “spin” the 2021 voting results have so far been ludicrous, including the narrative that “Virginia voters are racist” — the winning GOP candidate for Lieutenant Governor was black and the winning GOP candidate for Attorney General was Hispanic. The Biden administration has also advanced a feeble alibi that failure to pass trillion-dollar legislation was the cause for their 2021 defeats.
In fact, the far better case can be made that such legislation and many of its unpopular components were the cause of the defeats. But no matter, President Biden, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer are proceeding to try to push the legislation through anyway.
Most elected politicians have some instinct for survival, so it will now be interesting to see if the many U.S. House and Senate incumbents who are vulnerable in 2022 will line up with their “pied piper” leadership and march to defeat next year.
A number of senior Democrats had already announced their retirements before the 2021 debacle. Are more such retirements coming? Will vulnerable Democrats break with the party line and the President to avoid likely defeat from newly encouraged Republican challengers?
Initially, about 30-35 Democrat U.S. House members and 10-15 Republicans were considered vulnerable next year. The 2021 results increase the number of Democrats at risk and reduce the number of potential GOP losses. If the political environment for Democrats deteriorates even more, the specter of a “red wave” blow-out increases to the dimensions of the 2010 mid-terms in which the Democrats lost more than 60 seats.
Nor can liberal U.S. Senate strategists take comfort from the fact that few Democratic seats are up next year. In a red wave, they could lose up to 5 or 6 net Senate seats — and control of that chamber.
Voters in 2021 put a stop to the post-2020 lurch to the left at the local and state level in most places when given the choice. All current evidence is that they will do so again at the federal level next year. The leftist “transformation” quest has so far proved to be decidedly unpopular and unworkable.
Democrat voters rejected Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren in 2020, preferring the “moderate” Joe Biden, but they find their party now in 2021 taken over by the Sanders-Warren-Squad policy wing — and they just lost an election because of it.
They don’t have a lot of time to change course, and their leaders so far seem reluctant to pay attention to what the voters are now telling them.