Can We Win The Midterms?

I hear from so many people that the democratic party is poor at messaging and that our base is discouraged.  Where are they getting these ideas?  

Let’s examine the media narrative for the midterm elections.

  1.  A snapshot of X election, X candidate, X poll will determine the entire outcome of the midterm elections.  
  1.  Biden has poor favorability ratings and therefore Democrats will lose the midterms.
  1. Historically the opposing party takes back the House and/or Senate, therefore in this unprecedented time in history, the exact same thing will happen.

And I watch “liberal” media.

We need to remember what the media business model is:  drama, conflict and strife drive the ratings.  Polarizing, outrageous titles drive the clicks.  Fear sells.  Nuance, and subtlety, not so much.

Case in point:  The New York Times and others decided that loss of a progressive in the LA mayor’s primary and the recall of a progressive San Francisco District Attorney signaled the end of all progressive support in their article “California Sends Democrats and the Nation a Message on Crime”.  Regardless of the hundreds of other primaries that day, where progressives did just fine, the NYT pushed the story that fit their narrative of a future democratic loss in the midterms.  

June 21st Robert Hubbell reported that “Well, it turns out that one of the two races on which the breathless reporting was based has flipped the first and second-place finishers as mail ballots have been counted. Billionaire Rick Caruso has been overtaken by Rep. Karen Bass by 6 percentage points. (When the NYTimes ran its story, Caruso was leading by 5 points—and 11-point swing!) 

       What about Biden’s 40% favorability rating?  Polls tend to measure people’s discontent, and voters tend to bash whomever is in charge when they feel bad.  This could hurt turnout.  A suggestion: promote the coming election as a choice for the future – not a referendum on the past.  (works for both criticism on the Right and the Left)

But I buried the lede…..

The consensus narrative of the media is that historically, the party in power loses control of Congress.  Yes, that is true, but that belies the unprecedented nature of current events:

  1. On June 24th, 130 million women lost their right to bodily autonomy and now have less rights than a corpse.  (Even dead bodies aren’t required to give up organs to preserve someone else’s life.)
  1. In June, the Radicalized SCOTUS also:
  • Overturned NY’s concealed carry law
  • Overturned MIRANDA rights
  1. The January 6th hearings are laying bare the evidence of the attempted coup.  “Heroes” like Rusty Bowers, held the line against illegality last time, but have made it clear that they support all trump’s policies and would vote for him again.
  1. The massacres of Uvalde and Buffalo have fallen before a midterm. Maybe this time, the memory of those murdered will be fresh in the voter’s minds.
  1. The attacks on LGTBQ, especially Trans people, are widespread and vicious.  The Texas Republican party’s platform states that “homosexuality is an aberant lifestyle.”  SCOTUS published Thomas’ concurring opinion attacking contraceptives and LGTBQ rights. (Homosexual sex was criminalized until 2003, so it’s not just marriage equality at stake.)

So what must we do to win the midterms?

Remain steadfast.  Continue the work to promote Democratic candidates and get out the vote.  If you have taken a break, that’s good, it’s time to jump back in now. The largest voting block right now?  Independents and Did Not Vote.  The smallest group is Republicans. So there is plenty of room to win.

Start Talking.  Talk with everyone you know. They say they don’t “do politics”?  Tell them this is about values. They say it is too stressful?  Tell them to imagine what will happen if they do nothing. They say they are mad because (fill in passion here) and Biden/Congress hasn’t done anything?  Well guess what: it will only get worse if we don’t keep Democrats in office.  Climate Change?  Student Loans? Citizens United?  Medicare for All?  Police Reform?  Racial Justice?  Allowing Republicans back in control will be a disaster.

Take Action!  Make a plan and take action.  Phone.  Text.  Write. Donate. Remember, we did it in 2018, and we did it again in 2020. 

Sitting on the sidelines will guarantee our loss.  

We must go all in now.  It’s time to take action.