The Republicans were ready to self-destruct. The Democrats did not let them.

I was shocked recently to hear a longtime Republican friend say he was considering switching parties. Not just any Republican — he was nominated by two different GOP chairs and confirmed by the Senate each time, but he was trying to decide if he hit the straw. There is nothing in the leadership or leadership of the Democratic Party that encouraged him to make the fundamental change, and he is certainly no fan of President Biden; rather, he fears the GOP has gone too far.

Watching the political ads of many Republican candidates, listening to their speeches, and reading their statements, one could easily conclude that we are all surrounded by existential threats to our country, ourselves, and our way of life. It is as if:

  • Every woman between the ages of 15 and 50 has an abortion every year, as an alternative to birth control;
  • the Second Amendment protects our right to own and carry a weapon that has much more in common with a machine gun than a shotgun, and that a weapon no less sufficient would suffice to protect your home from a burglar or other miscreant;
  • that transgender athletes dominated women’s sports;
  • that preschool and elementary school curricula were built around critical race theory and inappropriate literature.

In fact, our political debate is increasingly dominated by synthetic ‘questions’, carefully constructed to elicit outrage. These are often built around conspiracy theories or isolated events, some taken out of context, that many average Americans will go through a lifetime without ever encountering.

Nevertheless, the party associated with this fearmongering and unnecessary panic is fundamentally certain to gain ground in the next election. Democrats have effectively thrown a lifeline to the GOP, building a ladder for Republicans to climb out of the demographic hole they have dug for themselves.

Democrats should face the hard truth that their party is not considered better and maybe even worse than the GOP. A national NBC News poll taken last month and released on Monday found that while only 35% of Americans viewed the Republican Party positively (46% negatively, for a net rating of minus 11), the positive rating from Democrats was four points lower at 31%. (50% negatively, for a net score of minus 19 points).

If we look at the intensity of these approval/disapproval numbers, the picture becomes even bleaker for Democrats. For Republicans, the positive 35% was made up of 13% very positive, 22% somewhat positive; the 46% negative were 17% somewhat negative, 29% very negative. For Democrats, the 31% positive came from 10% very positive, 21% somewhat positive; the negative 50% was 17% somewhat negative, 33% very negative.

President Biden and former President Trump had almost identical personal ratings, Biden at 37% positive (17% very positive, 20% somewhat positive), Trump 36% positive (21% very positive, 15% somewhat positive). Fifty-one percent of those polled viewed Biden negatively — 11% somewhat, 40% very negative. Nine percent viewed Trump somewhat negatively; 42% very negatively.

A telling sign was that only 16% thought the country was headed in the right direction, down six points from March, while 75% believed the country was on the wrong track, four points up from March. .

My diagnosis? With a country that is equally, narrowly and bitterly divided, which gave the Democrats the slimmest of majorities in 2020, now was not the time to have big, bold, historic and transformational programs that could be mentioned in the same breath that new Franklin Roosevelt. Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, both enacted after massive landslides.

Simply put, Democrats misconstrued the 2020 election. With campaigning in an almost airtight environment thanks to COVID-19, as if designed to minimize mistakes, Biden won the general election because he didn’t. was not Donald Trump.

But in the final weeks of the campaign, after Trump’s disastrous performance in September, the implications of a Blue Wave election began to loom. feet and decided to unplug the Blue Wave, almost turning it into the Dead Sea. They rejected Trump in favor of calm, methodical leadership for incremental change.

Not to dwell on it too much, but the Democrats squandered a self-defeating impulse from the Republicans. It’s not a messaging problem, it’s a decision-making problem, and they made the wrong decisions. Mandates are not self-assigned or self-declared, they are earned. To pretend to have a mandate, to pretend to have the authorization to do much more than the voters asked for, will destroy even the most self-destructive actions of the opponents.

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