Democrats Might Have Something New For the Midterms: Optimism

But there are three problems with this logic. These are, for the most part, the same voters who have already been mobilized by the Dobbs decision and the fight to preserve abortion rights. Also, the benefits of the legislation will not be readily apparent since there are still regulations to be written and grants to be administered. Finally, Bernie Sanders grousing about the limitations of the Inflation Reduction Act may temper the enthusiasm of some left-wing Democrats.

Send Them a Message

In an ideal world, strong messaging from the White House would help power the resurgent Democrats to enough victories to hold the Congress. Then you remember that Biden is president and Kamala Harris is vice president. In a speech last week to the Democratic National Committee, Biden used “MAGA” as epithet 11 times, as in “MAGA Republicans” and “MAGA extremism.” Aside from this labored effort to use Trump’s “Make America Great Again” as a political boomerang, Biden offered little more than a laundry list of accomplishments and familiar lines about “the battle for the soul of this nation.” But Biden was eloquent and inspirational compared to his VP, judging from the transcript of Harris’s boilerplate remarks at a recent fundraiser on Martha’s Vineyard.

Messaging by both parties is probably overrated in our saturated media environment. Political ad spending during the 2022 midterms is expected to approach $10 billion. Amid this cacophony of voice-of-doom attack ads, it will be hard for even the cleverest messaging to break through to swing voters and the politically under-motivated. For example, what matters far more than what the Democrats and Republicans say about inflation are the prices that voters themselves will experience in mid-October. If gas is at, say, $3.50 a gallon, GOP scare talk about inflation may not prove to be the motivating factor that it was during the early summer.