For 2022, Dems Must Learn To Say: 'Republicans Are Bad'
Credit: @bluegal
May 20, 2021

This isn't good:

Democratic poll finds Donald Trump loyalists highly engaged ahead of 2022

A poll from a Democratic firm shows Republican voters aligned with former President Donald Trump and engaged in midterm politics. That finding is only intensified in battleground states, including Florida.

“We were also surprised by how much Donald Trump’s loyalist party is totally consolidated at this early point in its 2022 voting and how engaged it is,” Greenberg writes. “Yes, they have pulled back from historic presidential year levels: the percent scoring 10, the highest level of interest in the election, has fallen from 84 to 68%. But Democrats’ engagement fell from 85% to 57%. Republicans are following their political theater much more closely than are Democrats — producing an 11-point gap.“

Yet “alarmingly, Democrats are barely following politics,” he writes.

It's possible that Greenberg is being an Eeyore -- he says, here and in his reports on previous surveys, that he's oversampling Trumpy right-wing populists to compensate for the apparent undersampling of them that led to significant polling errors in 2020. But Donald Trump won't be on the ballot in 2022. The last time he wasn't on the ballot, in 2018, Democrats took back the House (and the polls were accurate, even though they didn't oversample Trumpers).

But if Greenberg is right, Democrats have a problem.

Many Democrats -- not the politically engaged ones, but the ones who aren't, or would rather not be -- voted for Joe Biden in part because they wanted a president they could ignore. They got their wish. Biden is mature, steady, and responsible. He doesn't wake up every morning asking himself how he can stir up the most trouble.

But that means that these Democratic voters are tuning politics out. Republicans aren't, because Fox and the rest of the right-wing media have learned how to turn politics into pro wrestling, an ongoing drama based on notions of pure good and pure evil (except that most of the fans don't realize how much of what the right-wing media reports is fake).

The other problem is that Democrats haven't found a way to transfer Biden voters' anti-Trump anger to other Republicans. This is something I talk about all the time, and I expect I'll never see the Democratic Party acknowledge the problem or do anything to fix it: Democrats simply refuse to say, "The Republican Party is bad," or "The Republican Party stands for things you don't like, while the Democratic Party stands for things you do like," or even "The awful individual Republicans you see on the news -- Greene, Gaetz, Giuliani -- are really the embodiment of the Republican Party." Democrats (and the mainstream media) still debate whether the Republican Party is really the party of Donald Trump, even though the answer is obvious.

We say that this is an age of extreme partisan polarization, but that doesn't apply to much of the Democratic electorate. These voters loathe Trump, and loathed George W. Bush at the end of his term, and loathed Newt Gingrich in 1998, but they don't loathe Republicans. And that's why Democrats are at risk of another bad midterm cycle in 2022.

Published with permission from No More Mister Nice Blog

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