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Would Messaging Discipline Help The Democrats' Midterm Efforts? Or Is It Too Late?

The surly mood in the country right now is so anti-Democrat, that Republicans don't even have to hide who they are-- which they usually have to do-- to feel secure in a big midterm victory. It doesn't matter that voters disagree with the GOP on most policy... they are suddenly, according to all the current polling, the lesser of two evils. Yesterday, McConnell-- the single most disliked politician in America-- told Axios' Jonathan Swan that he won't commit to even holding hearings for a potential Supreme Court nominee if the GOP wins the Senate majority and he stays on as leader. The party of child molesters, insurrectionists and traitors feels like they've got it in the bag. Dozens of their congressional members are siding with Putin, even though the public hates him. But nothing seems to be changing the very negative public perception of the Democratic Party.

Everyone feels the Republicans have got it in the bag. I spoke to a member of Congress yesterday who told me she thinks the only thing that could save the Democrats would be if the Supreme Court overturns Roe. She wasn't hoping for that but...

This morning Amy Walter posted an essay at Cook indicating that it might not just be Roe; the Trump coup might turn out to be meaningful to midterm voters too. "The question," she wrote, "isn’t just whether the nation’s highest court will overturn the 50-year old abortion rights law, or whether the commission will reveal new and explosive information about the events leading up to and culminating in the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but whether these events will have a notable impact on the 2022 midterms. More precisely, will those two events have the effect of engaging a Democratic base that is clearly less energized about this election than the GOP?"

While the January 6th Commission [Trump ordered Kevin McCarthy to block that and he did; Walter means the Select Committee] has been busy at work, most of it has been behind closed doors. Later this spring, the public will get its first opportunity to hear about their investigation. GOP leaders have decried these hearings as part of a Pelosi-driven attempt to discredit former President Trump and the party. They argue that the public, already saturated with information about the attack on the Capitol, is ready to move on.
Democrats contend there is a lot more to learn about the attack on the Capitol. And there have plenty of leaks designed to make that very point. In recent days, we’ve learned about a 7-hour “gap” in Trump’s phone records on that day, text messages sent from conservative activist and spouse of Justice Clarence Thomas, Ginni Thomas, to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows encouraging him to keep the president from conceding the election, and most recently the 5-hour long closed-door testimony to the committee by Ivanka Trump.
“Members of the committee envision hearings that they hope will prove too riveting to ignore,” NBC’s Peter Alexander wrote earlier this year. “They are banking on wall-to-wall coverage on cable news, headlines on news sites and a constant churn on social media. They’re preparing to tell a story with a beginning, middle and end stretched out over two to three weeks, complete with surprises and plot twists. Viewers will see live witnesses and video presentations suited to an audience that hasn’t breathlessly followed every detail of the January 6th saga, members said.”
However, polling suggests that Democrats aren’t as invested in finding out more about the attack on the U.S. Capitol as Republicans are invested in moving on. A February Pew poll found that 65 percent of Republicans thought that “too much attention” had been paid to “the riot at the U.S. Capitol and its impacts,” compared to just 45 percent of Democrats who said “too little” attention had been paid. Twice as many Democrats (41 percent) as Republicans (21 percent) thought that the “right amount of attention” had been paid to the events of January 6th. In other words, Democrats aren’t currently clamoring for more attention to be paid to the attack.
I picked up that ambivalence and some skepticism in two recent focus groups of Democratic voters.
While all agreed that: 1) the attack on the Capitol was a crime; 2) that former President Trump was responsible for instigating it; and 3) that those responsible should be prosecuted, there was also a noted cynicism about the ability of this commission to make much of an impact.
...Of course, the committee can present compelling evidence and even recommend that the president and others are criminally charged, but only the Department of Justice can follow through on prosecution. Currently, more than 750 people involved in the events of the Capitol attacks have been charged with federal crimes. But, the decision to prosecute a former president and/or his aides, would “trigger a firestorm,” that would not only thrust “prosecutors back into the partisan crossfire that proved so damaging during the Trump-Russia influence investigation and an email probe of Hillary Clinton,” but would also serve to add even more fuel to an already inflamed GOP base. Yet, if the DoJ doesn’t follow through on criminal charges, it will likely depress any already skeptical and cynical Democratic base.
Moreover, the attacks of January 6th (and the ensuing fall-out) are not top-of-mind concerns for these voters. As one white, female millennial voter put it: “In 2020, the motivation was we need to vote Trump out. There’s not the same urgency of trying to get rid of that guy. We also have so many other problems we’re dealing with.”
Those “other problems” include worries about the rising cost of living and the emergence of another COVID surge.
...Then there’s the other big “known unknown” involving abortion and the Supreme Court. Even as we wait for that decision, we’ve seen several red states enact restrictive new rules around access to abortion, while some blue states, like Colorado, have enshrined the right to abortion into state law.
Unlike 2017, however, when millions joined “Women’s Marches” in Washington, DC and across the country to show unified “resistance” to Trump and any roll-back of abortion rights, the response to these state laws has been notably muted. To be sure, there have been some protests, but not of the size and scale like we saw back in 2017.
The other thing about this ‘known unknown’ is that we don’t know exactly how the high court will rule. Do they completely overturn Roe v. Wade, or do they allow states to have a shorter, 15-week viability standard instead of the current 24-week standard? Overturning the 50-year precedent would likely elicit a more intense backlash than one that keeps the law intact but allows states to shrink the ‘viability’ window. However, in both cases, the attention would move away from Washington and over to state capitols and gubernatorial elections.
These are known unknowns for a reason. We don’t know exactly how the Supreme Court decision and the January 6th commission will turn out. But, they also aren’t happening in a vacuum. Right now, pocketbook concerns are the overwhelming worry for voters, making it hard for much else to break through.

Here's something that would-- especially to younger voters who may well not turn out for Democrats this cycle. "Climate change," wrote Bernie in an e-mail to her followers this morning, "is an existential threat to our planet. To put it simply, if the United States and the global community don't get their act together and move away from fossil fuels in a very aggressive way, the planet we will be leaving our kids and grandchildren will be increasingly uninhabitable... If we don’t move boldly, we will see more devastating and extreme heat. We will see more floods. We will see rising sea levels and more destructive weather disturbances. We will see more ocean acidification, more drought, more famine, more disease. According to the [IPCC] report, we will see food scarcity with the loss of key crops, livestock, fisheries and aquaculture products. We will see water scarcity during the peak water demand periods. We will see coastal and urban flooding result in the disruption of supply chains. We will see shorter lifespans and worse mental health. We will see increased instances of food and waterborne disease, human and animal diseases. Increased exposure to wildfires will mean more heart and lung diseases, and flooding during extreme weather events will make it harder for health care services to get to those who need it. These are some of the social costs of a rapidly warming planet. For my colleagues who moan and groan that we cannot afford to take strong action to break our dependency on fossil fuels, this analysis tells us that we cannot afford NOT to act because the economic costs of a deteriorating climate will be extraordinarily high. Economists have made it clear that the cost of not acting on climate change will mean more than $100 trillion in lost economic activity throughout the world."

Is this an issue for the midterms? I asked a congressman. He said the Democratic tent is too big for any kind of "cutting edge" policy messaging. There ya go!

Climate change will throw more than 100 million people throughout the world into extreme poverty.
Climate change will result in the mass migration and displacement of more than 140 million people in Latin America, South Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa by the middle of this century.
The CIA has made it clear that the impact of climate change will substantially increase the risk of war, social unrest and cross-border tensions.
This is reality.
This is our future.
This is the planet we are leaving for our children and for our grandchildren.
Unless we act.
We are staring at a very fundamental choice, and nothing less than the future of our planet is at stake.
On the one hand, we can listen to the fossil fuel industry and the climate deniers, not worry about the impact of climate change, and turn our backs on our children and our grandchildren.
On the other hand, we can listen to the scientists who tell us that we have got to act boldly, aggressively, and immediately to prevent a climate catastrophe. And, by the way, if we do that we can create millions of good-paying jobs and help lead the world in a new energy direction.
Yes. We can transform our energy systems away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. We can do that in transportation, electricity generation, agriculture and making our buildings and appliances more energy efficient. And when we do that we not only combat climate change but we create a cleaner and healthier environment.
Yes. We can build the new electric cars and trucks we need and make it easier for working families to buy them. We can also build the electric buses and high-speed rail systems we need.
Yes. We can weatherize millions of homes and buildings, cut carbon emissions and lower energy bills.
Yes. We can move away from coal and gas electricity generation and convert to wind, solar and hydro.
Yes. We can invest in conservation and public lands to heal our soils, forests and prairie lands.
Yes. We can support small family farms by investing in ecologically regenerative and sustainable agriculture.
Yes. We can fund research and development to drastically reduce the cost of energy storage.
Yes. We can build a modern smart grid, one that is resilient, secure and capable of managing high amounts of renewable energy and maximizing efficiency.
Everyone knows that there is a lot going on in the world right now.
The pandemic continues. We face massive income and wealth inequality. Inflation eats away at our standard of living. Democracy here and abroad is under assault. And Russia’s outrageous invasion of Ukraine reminds us of the incredible savagery of war that we had hoped was long behind us.
But, in the midst of all of this, there is a simple truth. For the sake of our kids and future generations, for the sake of the planet, we cannot give in to despair. We have got to stand up and fight back.
We have got to transform our energy system. We have got to develop economic policies that work for all, and not just the few. We have got to end all forms of bigotry. We have got to revitalize American democracy.
Now, I cannot do that alone. And over the course of the next few months, our supporters are going to be doing everything possible to generate the largest voter turnout in American history, reaching out to people who might otherwise not be voting and turning them out in November.
We'll be making phone calls, sending text messages, and safely distributing literature throughout communities across this country.
Because if Republicans take control of the House and Senate, I think we all understand that the chances of accomplishing anything significant with respect to climate, or anything else, becomes virtually non-existent.

Not to mention student debt cancellation and lower drug prices... and a higher minimum wage. What is Biden waiting for? Why do the Democrats have such shitty branding... Oh, yeah: the tent that's so big that it has people in it who oppose core Democratic Party values and policies. Like North Carolina state Senator Don Davis, the candidate running against Erica Smith for Congress. This is the ad Blue America's IE committee has been running in northeast North Carolina:

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