Monday, November 27, 2023

Hey, Democrats, Try Something New

Here we go again: another round of polls that show the Democrats and their incumbent president in the crapper a year before the election, and the Very Serious Pundits and chat-show denizens believe that they’re doomed.

Bradley Beychok in Salon has some advice: knock it off.

After another blockbuster election night for Democrats, Chris Hayes tweeted, “The political experience of the Biden era for Democrats is: extended periods of intense anxiety about terrible polling, occasionally punctuated by strangely positive election nights. And then the cycle repeats.”

I’m here to let you in on a little secret – we don’t have to keep doing this.

If you want to put money on this election, smart money is on Joe Biden winning again in 2024. How do I know? I watch Republicans all day, I don’t have the mysterious presidential election cycle amnesia half of Washington has caught, and I trust election results over the poll du jour.

In 2010, I co-founded the opposition research hub American Bridge 21st Century. Our mission remains the same — to track Republicans and hold them accountable.

For thirteen years, I’ve gotten dozens of daily reports from our team monitoring GOP candidates across the country. Here’s what’s clear — Donald Trump cannibalized the Republican Party. A decade ago if you told me my inbox would be filled with mainstream Republicans defending insurrectionists, calling to ban Bud Light, and attacking our military, I would have said: Lay off the hallucinogens.

If you told me the GOP Speaker of the House monitors his own son’s porn consumption, I’m not sure I would have continued in this line of work.

But here we are.

Today, MAGA rules the day in Congress and up and down the Republican ballot. Voters outside the GOP primary ecosystem, especially women, have rejected these Republicans and their extreme abortion bans right where it counts: the ballot box.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at the results we have seen since the midterms. Voters in Ohio overwhelmingly supported two ballot measures in favor of abortion and marijuana rights — not exactly Republicans’ favorite positions.

Kentucky Democratic Governor Andy Beshear cruised to re-election. In what Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade called an “epic failure” for GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin, Virginia Democrats held their Senate and flipped the House of Delegates.

I’ll keep going. Democrats defeated Republican anti-abortion extremist Carolyn Carluccio, electing a liberal to serve on Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court. And in April, Democrats flipped Wisconsin’s Supreme Court by 11 points.

Watching the news and hearing pundits breathlessly regurgitate presidential polls, like the recent ones from the New York Times/Siena and CNN, you’d think Democrats were doomed — not sweeping elections. I’ve been around this town long enough to remember this panicked framing always happens, like clockwork, and it’s always premature.

Here’s a quick look at some headlines at this point in the 2012 cycle: Poll: Obama hits all-time low, Obama trails Mitt Romney in new Quinnipiac poll, and Gas Prices Slam Mobility — and Obama’s Popularity Too.

Sound familiar?

I know what you’re thinking — there’s a big difference between President Obama in 2011 and President Biden now. You’re right. Biden’s economy is stronger, we have a lengthy list of legislative and policy-driven wins, and his likely opponent is a man facing 91 felony counts who’s been found liable for sexual abuse and whose biggest accomplishment was cutting taxes for the wealthy and big corporations — putting Social Security and Medicare at risk.

Another big difference between first-term Obama and first-term Biden? Republicans overturned Roe v. Wade. For the first time in nearly 50 years, abortion is no longer a constitutional right.

In red states and blue states, women voters have a unified message for Trump and his band of merry extremists: We’re not having it. Seven states have voted to protect abortion access since the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade.. Voters, especially women voters, are fed up and don’t want to support Republicans. The results at the ballot box prove that.

Trump may be able to shoot someone on 5th Avenue and walk, but as the face of the anti-choice movement, he doesn’t stand a chance of stopping this force. He nominated the justices who tore down Roe. He promised to punish people who had abortions. He’s been an anti-abortion extremist from the start.

Protecting democracy and reproductive freedom are the key issues fueling the electoral juggernaut that is women.

I propose Democrats create a new political experience for the next year – ignore these polls, talk to voters about the issues that matter to them (abortion rights, freedom, democracy), get folks to the polls, then repeat on November 5, 2024.

I get tired of having to tell people that polls this far out are as useless as tits on a snake, but it sells newspapers and gets the fretters time on cable TV.  Sometimes I think they do it because they like to see people freak out the same way they like to play Invisible Ball with the dog or laser pointer with the cat.  But even the dog gets wise, and the cat will crap in your slippers if you keep doing it.

I also think a lot of people like to fuck with the pollsters.  Certainly the temptation is there: “Hello, I’m calling from Fred’s Opinion Survey and I’d like to ask about your views on the upcoming election.”  At that point I am sure they get a lot of people saying they’d vote for Kwame Nkruma if he was on the ballot, and the fact that Trump is going around sounding off like Josef Goebbels about crushing vermin doesn’t get a rise out of people who are more interested in finding out who Taylor Swift is sweet on.  All the facts — and they are facts — about the rebounding economy, gas prices below $3 a gallon, inflation under 3%, and people are being hired in record numbers gets swept away by a TikTok video of someone with a $16 receipt from McDonald’s.

In some ways I wish the Democrats were more like the Republicans: falling in behind their leader regardless whether or not he’s sounding like a lunatic.  And can it with the chatter about a terrible choice between the two party leaders.  I’ve been hearing that as long as I’ve been watching elections: Kennedy vs. Nixon, LBJ vs. Goldwater, Humphrey vs. Nixon, Nixon vs. McGovern…. you get the idea.  Suck it up, promote the issues that matter, and vote already.