Saturday, October 29, 2022

The Dem's last talking point

The Dem's last talking point

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

The Democrats have tried everything they can think of to convince voters that the Republicans are too scary to vote for.

Obviously none of their messaging has worked.

When the campaign season was ramping up things were already looking pretty bad for the Party. The economy was sputtering and Biden’s popularity was in the toilet, so they had very little to work with. So they pivoted away from talking about what their “accomplishments” were and what their future plans would be to a very simple, straightforward message: Republicans are very very scary.

Almost every single utterance from Democrats, and pretty much all their commercials have focused on abortion and Donald Trump. And all of them were about how extreme and dangerous a Republican victory would be.

The message attached to both is: be very very afraid of Republicans because they want to destroy Democracy and jail your daughters if they don’t give in to forced pregnancy. They also want to replace the Galactic Senate with Emperor Palpatine or something.

The problem? This messaging is not working because the economy, immigration, and crime are the only issues that really matter to people. None of these issues favors the Democrats because they screwed up the economy and opened up the jails while cutting police. The open border is an open sore as well.

That’s why the Democrats are trotting out one last Hail Mary of a message: Republicans are going to crash the economy. It is a tough sell for obvious reasons: the Democrats crashed the economy already and have been lying about how great things are going. Transitory, you know, these troubles. Sic transit gloria mundi.

But this is the only angle they can think of where they can pivot to the economic message AND build upon the failed messaging that “Republicans are really scary.”

President Biden has already been pushing this message, and now the commentariat is amplifying it. For instance Jen Rubin from the Washington Post–their supposedly “conservative” commentator–is faithfully parroting this talking point:

Yes, Jen Rubin is being sold to us as a conservative.

Voters who follow the news closely will likely find it hard to believe that so many fellow Americans would even consider casting ballots for election deniers and Republicans who betrayed democracy. But“low information” Americans are the ones who will decide the midterm elections. Therefore, President Biden and his fellow Democrats must think carefully about their closing argument to win over these people.

Rubin here is following the time tested strategy of winning votes by insulting the voters. This strategy works every time, and is almost as effective as scaring the bejeezus out of them. She trots out the old chestnuts about Republicans killing grandma after taking away her Medicare and Social Security, but as with President Biden and the top Democrats, she is now outright predicting that Republicans have a plan to kill off the economy out of, presumably, spite.

That’s a real threat: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has threatened to use the looming deadline to raise the debt limit next year as a means to cut off aid to Ukraine and to roll back Biden’s economic agenda. House Republicans are also eyeing the debt limit deadline as a way to make cuts to hugely popular programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. At the same time, they are seeking to extend President Donald Trump’s tax cuts.

This is more trickle-down economics designed to make the rich richer, which would balloon the national debt and worsen inflation. As such, Democrats should describe the election for what it is: a faceoff between supply-side economics and Biden’s promise to build the economy from “the bottom up and middle out.” This would contrast the two parties as one for the little guy and one for billionaires, which has worked in the past to elect Biden and before him, Barack Obama and Bill Clinton.

So yes, while protecting democracy is an essential issue for those who rightfully fear the GOP’s assault on democratic institutions and values, Democrats must win over late-deciding voters, too. And there is nothing like a reminder that the economy could get a lot worse as Republicans revert to cutting taxes for the rich and starving government to motivate Americans to vote Democratic. Biden needs to keep that drumbeat going through Election Day.

Look at that first sentence: it is an admission that “protecting democracy” has totally failed to move the needle. So Rubin et al are trying out this variation. Kinda pathetic, but what else do they have?

There is a huge problem with making arguments like this in the midst of an existing national funk: people know things are bad and getting worse, so sticking with the devil you know isn’t particularly attractive. Especially when that Devil keeps insisting that things are great and that despite your own experience the economy is humming along.

They’re desperate, so they are going with the lame assertion that Republicans are determined to destroy the American economy (just as they did under scary Donald Trump!). This is the talking point they are using as their closing argument. The word has gone out, and if you cruise Twitter you will see the bobblehead Biden supporters all repeating it, as do the surrogates on the trail.

I suspect that Democrats already know that they are toast, so this message is less about driving people to the polls or convincing swing voters for 2022. Instead they are setting up the loss so that the miserable 2023 and 2024 we are facing can be blamed on the Republicans.

This won’t work either, of course, because voters have already made up their minds about who caused the current mess, and without an unlikely rapid rebound of the economy and cessation of inflation, Biden will face the Jimmy Carter situation of losing big in the midterms and losing the presidency two years later.

But so far it is all they’ve got. And apparently they have chosen to ride this messaging all the way down to the 9th level of hell.

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