Messaging Won’t Save Democrats; Community Might
As the midterms approach and voters sour on the party in power, here’s an alternative path worth trying.
A month ago in this space, I offered some arguments for optimism about the upcoming mid-term elections for the majority of Americans who don’t want to see Trump Republicans return to power. Voter turnout has jumped dramatically since 2016, and the voters who surged in to vote in 2018 and 2020 tilted more blue than red, meaning there are plenty of potential Democratic voters out there. Current events like the Ukraine war also still offer the possibility of scrambling voter leanings. And finally the demographic and geographic shifts caused by the pandemic and more white collar professionals taking advantage of work-from-home options to move out of cities might also tilt some purple areas in a bluer direction.
To be sure, I’m whistling past the graveyard. The national Democratic party is like the Titanic with the iceberg in sight but no ability to steer, struggling to govern with a very narrow majority in Congress and failing to connect much with voters. Liberal pollsters who focus on core Democratic constituencies like Black voters, working people and young people are especially worried, pointing to a huge collapse in enthusiasm and predicting that many of these vital voters will sit out the mid-terms. A recent story in the New York Times detailing how little voters even recognize the massive $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed at the beginning of Biden’s presidency as making a difference in their lives only reinforces the warning signs of a coming electoral disaster.
Right now, national Democrats seem to be staking most if not all of their hopes on the upcoming hearings of the January 6th Select Committee, which has been investigating the Capitol riot and what led to it. Polls suggest that a majority of Americans haven’t forgotten about January 6th and still want the people behind it held accountable. As recent leaks suggest, there was a criminal conspiracy led by President Trump and abetted by many Trump Republicans to promote, pay for and pardon a deadly attack on our country and the democratic process. Televised hearings, which are now slated to start June 9th, could indeed “blow the roof off Congress” as Rep…