A series of recent memos and op-eds from senior Democrat strategists questioning the party’s iron-clad focus on J6 and abortion have fallen on deaf ears at the White House. Democrats apparently still haven’t learned their lesson and this error in judgement is providing a wide opening for Republicans to win big in November. If Republicans hope to capitalize, however, they must have strong message discipline, focusing chiefly on inflation and the economy while Democrats continue to squawk about issues only the corporate press and DC bubble think are important.
It seems that with each passing month, inflation continues to get worse. Year over year, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) reported inflation in January rose to 7.5%, followed by 7.9% in February and March, up to 8.3% in April, rose to 8.6% in May, and hit 9.1% in June, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 1981, they reported. This month’s number was an eye-catching 11.1%. When moms and dads go grocery shopping, they are paying at a minimum 12% more today than one year ago and on many household items, much more than that. But energy costs alone are enough to make families look for new leadership in DC. Filling up mom’s SUV costs 60% more and when dad opens the electricity bill, he’s paying nearly 14% more than one year ago.
Dinner table issues must remain front and center of Republican messaging if Republicans want to solidify their chances of retaking the Senate and the House by wide margins. Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN), who leads the House’s Republican Study Committee (RSC), sent a memo to House Republicans urging them to “tie inflation to the Biden economic agenda and explain to voters how inflation is Democrats’ hidden tax on the Middle Class.” The RSC’s memo states that “not only does inflation affect the price of consumer goods, it is an insidious government tax on your income and wealth. And the American people deserve to know who’s doing it to them.”
Congressman Banks is right, and a Quinnipiac University poll released last month supports his position. According to the poll, “Nearly 6 in 10 Americans, 59 percent, think that rising prices in the United States is a crisis and 38 percent think it’s a problem but not a crisis.” That number is up from 49% two months prior, illustrating inflation’s shift from “problem” territory to “crisis” territory. Another Quinnipiac poll from early June – one month after Banks’ memo – found that “Americans say inflation (34 percent) is the most urgent issue facing the country today.”
In addition, recent polling among Hispanic voters showed a greater focus on jobs and the economy rather than crime, immigration, or social issues. A March 2022 poll from Axios/Ipsos Latino showed that inflation was the number one issue of concern (34%) to Hispanic American voters compared to December 2021 when inflation didn’t even rank among the top three issues of concern. That shift indicates a demographic that is increasingly receptive to Republican messaging regarding President Biden and national Democrats’ disastrous economic policies.
Congressional Democrats are currently rushing to pass another spending package via budget reconciliation before the September 30 deadline full of climate change and environmental policies that would accelerate inflation. This tone deafness is striking and presents a major opportunity for Republicans to keep talking about voters’ top concerns. If Republican’s can keep talking about inflation and the economy, their message discipline will surely pay dividends in November.
Bob Carlstrom is President of AMAC Action
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