This has happened before.
Democrats were pessimistic about Bill Clinton’s reelection prospects after the 1994 midterms.
He left office in 2001 more popular, thanks to his economic policies (budget surpluses, record employment, the CHIPS Act for Child Healthcare) and opposition to Republican ones than when he was first elected, even after getting impeached on flimsy grounds.
In 2012, Democrats (especially younger more progressive ones) pondered if Barack Obama (the President who signed the Affordable Health Care Act,) with a national unemployment rate between seven and nine percent, could get reelected after a similar midterm debacle.
He also left after two terms in office.
Some of the sentiments from the left on Clinton and Obama were reinforced by frustration with their center-left policy orientation in their terms in office.
That these two Presidents probably could not have achieved more with the Congressional Configurations of their time apparently did not factor into many of these voters’ perspectives.
Fast forward to today and we have Democrats, despite President Biden instituting policies more progressive than his two Democratic Predecessors, falling over themselves in a panic with one CNN poll that shows the 2024 Presidential race in a virtual tie between Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump.
Jim Messina, an Obama operative has called this Democratic reaction, historically programmed in part to Reagan and Bush victories and the Hilary Clinton 2016 loss, “bedwetting.”
It could also be called being “whiners” and “crapping their pants.”
While it is better to be forewarned and forearmed with as much information as possible on the campaign trail leading up to the election, Democratic voters should be mindful of a few facts before stressing out.
First, this poll may have been more tilted to the conservative political sphere. Please read CNN’s description of who was polled below:
“The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS from August 25-31 among a random national sample of 1,503 adults drawn from a probability-based panel, including 1,259 registered voters and 391 Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters. The survey included an oversample to reach a total of 898 Republicans and Republican-leaning independents; this group has been weighted to its proper size within the population. Surveys were either conducted online or by telephone with a live interviewer. Results among the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 points; among registered voters, the margin of sampling error is 3.6 points, and it is 6.0 for Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters.”
Another factor to consider is reality.
Messina prepared a 22-slide PowerPoint presentation outlining how the Biden/Harris Campaign and other Democrats should position themselves in the 14 months leading to the 2024 election.
Among the key points:
- The need to highlight the condition of the country now (record employment, COVID under control, inflation and crime falling) and compare it to when it was when the Biden/Harris Administration took over from the Trump/Pence one (the Coronavirus Pandemic raging, many people out of work and at home, Democracy under attack.)
- The need to promote all of the legislation (some of it bipartisan) like the Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS Act, the American Rescue Plan, and the Inflation Reduction Act has moved the country forward, lifted people up, and charted a course for a cleaner energy future. It would also be fun to point out that Republicans who voted against these laws are now touting them.
- The necessity to remind voters that Democrats and the Biden/Harris Administration are the ones fighting for Democracy and Reproductive Freedom. That is not happening at all on the Republican side.
- Remember that polling trends among the public are trending Democratic. 60 percent of Americans think their economic condition is good or excellent and only 33 percent think a recession is likely. Two-thirds think a woman’s right to choose should be enshrined in their state’s constitution.
- To note that the Misery Index (Inflation plus Unemployment) is currently lower than during the Reagan. Clinton, and Obama Administrations at this point in their reelection campaigns.
- Most importantly, to drive home the fact that the Republicans have tethered themselves to twice impeached, found liable for sexual assault, four times indicted Donald Trump and most Presidential contenders who want to be like him or espouse the same reactionary policies (banning books, distorting history education, taking away your right to vote and a woman’s right to choose) that most Americans find abhorrent.
So while it is right to be concerned about the 2024 elections and no one should take anything for granted (how many Hilary voters stayed home because they thought her election was a fait accompli), Democrats need to take a deep breath, organize, and prepare for what will be a close race that will be decided in the same battleground states as 2020 (Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia.)
Voters should also be comforted by this thought expressed by some pundits I have heard on CNN and MSNBC. Will the millions of voters who switched from Trump to Biden in 2020 be inclined to vote for Trump and Republicans again in 2022 after seeing
- What he did on January 6, 2021.
- He was indicted four times and found liable for sexual assault.
- He and other Republicans have worked to suppress the vote since 2020 and take away other freedoms like a woman’s right to choose.
Think about it.