When voters aren’t happy with the state of affairs, they punish the ruling party, and the Democrats look set to take a beating. It may be bad news for the health of democracy, but it’s understandable from an electoral politics perspective because Democrats have forgotten what they understood in 2020 when they united behind Joe Biden. : the primordial obligation to win. That’s right — not to enact generational reforms, not to save the planet, but just to govern in a way that prevents the pro-QAnon, pro-Putin, truth-optional, insurgent party from returning to power.
It’s not that the Democrats haven’t done anything popular. They just didn’t announce it. In fact, they buried him. The US bailout included a policy that really changed the lives of many Americans – child benefit. The parents of 60 million of the 73 million American children began receiving a check from the IRS of $300 a month for young children and $250 a month for older ones. Under Biden, child poverty has reached its lowest rate in American history.
Have you heard of this spectacular achievement? Biden mentions it from time to time, but it should have been shouted, broadcast, trumpeted and sung. Unfortunately, the program has now lapsed, a victim of Democratic infighting.
The Democrats also didn’t talk about the good economic numbers. With the exception of the inflation rate, the economic story is remarkably good. The unemployment rate has fallen from 6.4% when Biden took office to 3.9% today. Skeptics might attribute this primarily to the decline of COVID-19, but that shouldn’t stop politicians from bragging. They get blamed for things they aren’t responsible for, so might as well take credit for things they didn’t really affect. Hiring is strong, wages are rising, unemployment is low, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average is at 35,000.
What about this bipartisan infrastructure bill? All the lead pipes in America are going to be replaced, saving God knows how many children from brain damage. The legislation will start the important process of mitigating the effects of climate change by building levees, dams and other infrastructure. It will repair roads, bridges, and airports, and do so much more. Have you heard of this?
Yet the dominant story of Biden’s first year and a half was that of the senses. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema were traitors standing in the way of a different bill that was never described in any way except as a price tag. A group of progressives wanted to spend another $2 trillion. Ninety percent of the focus has been on what the Democrats (unrealistically) aimed for rather than what they achieved. So they drowned their own accomplishments in a miasma of recriminations.
Nor have Democrats competently pushed back against “defund the police” and “abolish ICE” and other leftist slogans that Republicans have wisely used to undermine their entire party. Yes, Biden had a good one-liner in his State of the Union address. “Don’t pay the police. Fund the police. But that should have been said 3,000 times, and not just by Biden but by Vice President Kamala Harris and members of his cabinet and congressional leaders and their surrogates of all kinds.
They were better at it.
As someone who’s been on the other side for decades, I well remember when Paul Ryan backed a plan that would allow Americans to funnel up to 40% of their social security contributions into retirement accounts private, interest group advertisements depicted him as a ghoul who was out to knock Granny off a cliff. I also remember Obama’s ad campaign that wrongly blamed Mitt Romney’s company for the death of a woman from cancer.
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It was all slanderous, and I would never – really ever – suggest that Democrats lie about Republicans. But why can’t they tell the truth?
Florida Senator Rick Scott, chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee, has come out with a plan that explicitly calls for raising taxes on 57% of American households. Could the Democrats do something about it? And if not, what are they doing in politics?
Finally, at least one of the reasons Democrats are seen as out of the mainstream is that the right-wing news ecosystem relentlessly “chooses” the craziest things any Democrat says or does and amplifies them out of the way. any ratio.
In contrast, Democrats have utterly failed to raise the profiles of sinister figures like Representatives Paul Gosar, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Madison Cawthorn or Lauren Boebert. Where are the Democratic ads pointing out that the way you get in trouble in today’s GOP is to stand up for the rule of law and the Constitution (see Cheney, Liz and Kinzinger, Adam), but not to attend a conference organized by a Holocaust – making fun of the white supremacist? We used to say “the ads write themselves,” but the Democrats don’t seem to get it.
Get better Democrats. The stakes couldn’t be higher.
Mona Charen is the editor of The Bulwark and host of the “Beg to Differ” podcast. Her most recent book is “Sex Matters: How Modern Feminism Lost Touch with Science, Love, and Common Sense”.
© 2022 Syndicate of Creators