nytimes – Reviews | How Democrats should approach the midterm elections

Since most of us sleep better in the quietude of a healthy presidency, it is tempting to ignore the current craziness of the Republican Party. Between QAnon crackpots, anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists, supporters of election repression, supporters of the coup, and election deniers, the party shows a mixture of madness.

But here’s the scariest part of it all: They’re still likely to take the House next year in the midterm election, and possibly the Senate, as they continue to rewrite the rules in multiple states to make it easier. the compromise of fair elections.

This means that the Biden presidency, although placed at the top of a popular economic agenda and public health jurisdiction, may prove to be a brief calm at a time between storms of authoritarianism.

Democrats can blame themselves, in part. They gave Republicans just enough ammunition that a party at war with democracy is about to undermine much of that democracy next year.

The Republican reservoir of ideas is full of weariness and the absurd. Reduce taxes for the rich. Climate change is wrong. Make voting more difficult. And the great unifier: the 2020 presidential election has been stolen. Try to find a national majority for all of this. So the Republican Party will run on what the Democrats have given them. Or at least what the far left of the party gave them.

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Will Democrats face a mid-term erasure?

“GOP candidates in 2022 will readily accuse Democratic opponents of wanting to fund the police and teach contempt for the country in schools,” wrote James A. Baker III, a venerable party member, sketching out a rosy scenario on Wall Street Newspaper. It’s a powerful punch: Democrats will make us less secure while preaching identity politics to children.

Republicans already control a majority of state houses, and with them, the redistribution process. They need a net gain of just five seats to take the House and a single pickup to take control of the Senate.

The warning signs were there in 2020 and in a recent local election in which Democrats lost in a high-density Latin American part of Texas. Joe Biden won the popular vote by over 7 million, but Democrats suffered a sharp loss of 11 seats in the House.

In an autopsy, Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, the New York Democrat overseeing his party’s campaigns in Congress, told the Washington Post that “lies and distortions about funding and socialism are having an impact.”

The way to fend off the barbarians to the right should be fairly straightforward. A unified Democratic message – helping people live better lives with a focused government hand – is hugely popular. This is the essence of the US $ 1.9 trillion bailout law and Biden’s proposed infrastructure bill. And that should be the essence of what voters think of when they think of Democrats.

Another message, on cultural issues, is much less popular. In a recent congressional race for an open seat in New Mexico, Democrats won a landslide victory by emphasizing economic fairness while directly facing attacks on law and order. The winner, Melanie Stansbury, posted an ad that featured the support of a former sheriff’s deputy.

The rise in violent crime is now the number one concern for many voters across the country, according to a Yahoo News / YouGov poll, and in the Democratic primary for the mayor of New York, according to a recent Spectrum News NY1 / Ipsos poll. Polls also show that a majority of Americans oppose police funding, and Maloney says it’s a “wicked lie” to label Democrats as the funding party. But lies, fueled by the overbreadth of left-handers in some cities as well as the amplification of social media, tend to last much longer than boring talk about infrastructure.

On race, the great judgment that began with the death of George Floyd last year should continue to expose the weak points of the story and work to get rid of the bias built into the system.

But in promoting the teaching of critical race theory – a term so misunderstood that it’s now better known as a Republican weapon – some educators have played into the hands of the Trumpers, even those less skilled in the art. gloomy demagoguery. At the Lincoln Reagan Annual Dinner in New Hampshire in early June, former Vice President Mike Pence said children are taught “to be ashamed of their skin color,” a popular talking point among Republicans.

If the message is that being born white is something akin to the Roman Catholic concept of original sin, then there is bound to be a backlash among moderate voters who came close to Democrats during Trump’s day.

Longtime Liberal strategist Ruy Teixeira warned of this thing in his May newsletter and said moderates were afraid to respond. “The administration is doing nothing to prevent this looming culture war in schools, as it would draw the wrath of the shrill-awakened Democratic Party sector on Biden’s head,” he wrote.

Trump is diminished but still very dangerous. His party is filled with brick-headed deniers. Nearly three in ten Republicans said they believe he will be reinstated in the White House this year. This month Trump called his defeat the “crime of the century” and was applauded when he spoke out against critical race theory.

Democrats will not be able to contain the horror tornado around Trump with the “shrill awakening,” in Teixeira’s words. Common sense politics may not be a rallying cry, but it wins an election.

Timothy Egan (@nytegan) is an opinion writer covering the environment, the American West, and politics. He is a National Book Award winner and most recently author of “A Pilgrimage to Eternity”.

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