On the basis of a very close perusal of a randomized sample of yard signs in Boulder, Colorado, I make the following prediction:
The Democrats will do remarkably well in tomorrow’s midterms, measured by the historical baseline of how a party that wins the federal trifecta does in the subsequent election. In other words, instead of losing a net of something like 10 Senate and 50 House seats, Democrats are likely to do far, far better than that, although holding the House is still extremely unlikely, and holding the Senate is far from assured.
Of course this won’t stop the media from declaring the outcome the result of the Democrats being too extreme — sorry, that’s “perceived as too extreme”; how those perceptions arise is just one of those eternal metaphysical mysteries apparently — even though voters “also” consider the Republicans to be “extreme,” on issues such as whether we should keep having elections etc.
In fact it’s already happening:
Third Way — a center-left think tank backed by some of the biggest names in Democratic politics — is sounding the alarm about deep-seated party flaws, based on its own new polling from Senate battlegrounds.
Driving the news: “If Democrats manage to hold on to the House and Senate, it will be in spite of the party brand, not because of it,” Third Way writes in a memo synthesizing its conclusions, shared first with Axios.
- “Despite a roster of GOP candidates who are extreme by any standard, voters see Democrats as just as extreme, as well as far less concerned about the issues that most worry them.”
Why it matters: Lifelong, respected Democrats are saying the quiet part out loud — that if Republicans have a huge night on Tuesday, as polls are blaring, Democrats must blame “much deeper” problems than simply the “historical trends” that beset the party in power.
In a brutal bill of particulars, the Third Way memo says under the headings “Out of Touch on Priorities … Out of Touch Ideologically … Out of Touch on Values”:
- “Democrats are underwater on issues voters name as their highest priorities, including the economy, immigration, and crime.”
- “While Democrats maintain a lead on handling certain issues like abortion and climate change, voters also rank these issues as lower priorities.”
- “[V]oters question whether the party shares essential values like patriotism and the importance of hard work. … Only 43% of voters say Democrats value hard work, compared to 58% for Republicans.”
- “[E]ven in the areas where Democrats are trusted more [including education], it is not clear that voters are sold on Democrats’ approach or ability to get things done.”
- “Democrats are benefitting from a perception among voters that Republicans are extreme, but they cannot fully reap the gains of this view, as voters think Democrats are extreme as well.”
The bottom line: Democrats need to make major changes to the party brand to avoid another potential wipeout in 2024.
Of course this is what reactionary centrists have been saying forever, and it’s easy enough to pick apart the bill of particulars: no elected Democrat above the level of a Berkeley city council member has advocated anything like defunding the police, crime isn’t actually up, national Democrats don’t actually favor more liberal immigration policies, inflation is an international phenomenon at present that has almost nothing to do with any Democratic policies, trans panic is a completely made up issue, “valuing hard work” is just code for there are too many colored people voting for Democrats etc. etc.
Plus the poll this is all based on has a huge oversample of “swing voters,” which under current conditions just means people who are basically OK with fascism but don’t like to advertise that too loudly.
But Axios gonna Axios, so get ready for plenty of bogus postmortems of this sort, even the Dems hold the Senate and are down only 15 or so seats in the House after Tuesday.