November 8, 2022 12:29 PM
Last week’s Courier Herald column; It appears it didn’t post as scheduled. Still…enjoy some post election analysis before we’re actually post election – cbh
There’s a bit of a conundrum when writing for both print and online publications with a filing deadline days before an election. Some readers will get this before the final votes are cast, and some after the votes are counted. Today I’ll attempt to straddle this line and look ahead to “what’s next”.
Unless the entire American polling mechanism is irretrievably broken Speaker Nancy Pelosi will once again retire her gavel as she loses her majority to Republicans. The Senate remains in “toss-up” territory though Real Clear Politics gives the nod toward the GOP.
In the case of a 50-50 tie, Democrats retain control over that body as they have the executive branch for two more years. Even if Democrats outperform and retain the Senate, a Republican led House presents a sea-change to the one-party monopoly that has controlled Washington – and more.
With Democrats in firm control of the Legislative and Executive branches, national media has been able to cast the entire political narrative for the past two years on Democratic terms. Add in an alliance with the largest social media platforms, and Democrats have enjoyed a safe space to deliver their message with very limited and filtered rebuttal for the last two years.
This message is being flatly rejected. Not on the margin, but in totality.
During the 2018 and 2020 elections, National and Atlanta political press focused almost exclusively on white suburban women as swing voters. This week a pre-election poll showed a swing among this group – 20% of the electorate – to favoring Republicans by 15 points. That’s a swing of 27 points just since August.
Democrats and media alike seem to have made a grave mistake in viewing women as a monomythic group of single issue voters. They’re deeply concerned about their schools being shut down longer than necessary during Covid, by rapidly increasing crime rates after efforts to defund the police. They’re watching their home and 401K values fall while spending more and more every week at the grocery store and gas pumps.
I’ve written several times about the brief hours and days in 2020 when Democrats were briefly chastened at the election results. While they won the White House they didn’t get the gains they were hoping for elsewhere. Republicans literally gifted them the Senate two months later, and all of the campaign promises of a “return to normalcy” and “working across the aisle” quickly flipped to “never let a crisis go to waste”, “why won’t Joe Manchin let us kill the filibuster so we can really change everything”, “show us your papers; mask your children”, and “A few trillion here and there of borrowed money thrown into an already supply constrained economy will only make everything better”.
This election has shaped into a complete rejection of the fever dream power grabs of the last two years. It’s not just suburban white women. Republicans are making real gains with Hispanic and African American voters as well. As Democrats now begin to look at what things will be like in 2023, they again are in the bargaining stage.
This is best represented by Emily Oster’s Op-Ed in The Atlantic where she asks for a Covid Amnesty. No repercussions for the horrible decisions made, no blowback for those who used a genuine emergency for political gain. Let’s just move on like none of that ever happened.
For those who own up to bad decisions and come clean with what was going on in a public and transparent manner, grace can and should be extended. For those who nakedly kept schools closed in order to use kids as union bargaining chips there should be a full public examination of actions and motivations. For those who deemed proper questions including peer reviewed medical research be labeled and blocked as “misinformation”, more transparency on these decisions are needed.
There will be Congressional hearings on the Covid response and so many other federal intrusions into our lives over the past two years. My only advice to Republicans on this is to find a prosecutor for each one and yield each member’s time to one individual. Too many hearings are show trials so members can hear their own sound bites. If you truly want to expose root causes of problems, let one person handle the questioning to prove it.
My broader advice, should Republicans take control of Congress, is to focus on the lives of every day Americans. Move away from the scare tactics that feed the “Send us $25 by midnight to stop the liberals” emails. Show you’re capable of governing in a meaningful way.
You’re not going to make the President use his veto pen often. Senator Schumer will see to that. But you will have the opportunity to make your case as to why limited but effective, stable governance works best.
Republicans must remember how quickly public opinion can change. Democrats have squandered their absolute majority in just two years. Republicans should have two years to prove they should be trusted with one, if the presumed new Speaker uses the gavel and bully pulpit wisely.