Harold Meyerson writes at The American Prospect:
It’s only the midpoint of 2021, but the outlines of both parties’ 2022 campaigns are already clear. Consequently, it’s also clear that the two parties’ electoral pitches will deal with entirely separate universes.
The Democrats will campaign on the real benefits they’ve delivered to the American public, more particularly the American working class (assuming, of course, that Sens. Manchin, Sinema, and their ilk don’t deep-six the entire Democratic program). Those benefits will include their largely successful effort to diminish the pandemic, their funding for infrastructure, the establishment of an expanded Child Tax Credit and affordable child care, universal pre-K, tuition-free community college, paid family and medical leave; the expansion of Medicare to include dental, vision, and hearing care; more affordable housing; and numerous advances in clean energy. It will also include some of the executive orders that Joe Biden issued last Friday, including a ban on the noncompete agreements currently imposed on tens of millions of workers, and a “right to repair” rule that will enable Americans or their mechanics to fix their own cars or tractors instead of having to take them back to the manufacturer whose proprietary software has blocked anyone else’s attempts to fix the damn things.
All to be funded by Medicare savings derived from negotiating down drug prices, by higher taxes on the wealthiest one percent, and higher taxes on corporations.
In short, a lot of very real and very helpful stuff. As Biden himself once observed, “a big fucking deal.”
Republicans will not address any of these issues with substantial alternatives, Meyerson believes.
Instead, Republicans will run on culture war issues, attacking critical race theory, defunding the police, the influx of immigrants, the threat posed by minorities voting (which will be dog-whistled under the heading of voter fraud)—in short, the threat that Democrats presumably pose to white people. Which, they have to hope, will persuade a sufficient number of those white people to disregard the Medicare expansions, Child Tax Credit, and other actual benefits with which Democrats, and Democrats alone, have provided them.
Put another way, “Democrats will run against Republicans because they opposed all those benefits. And Republicans will run against Democrats for supporting all those culture war threats, a number of which, like defunding the police, the vast majority of Democrats don’t actually support.”
In addition to the effectiveness of each party’s messaging, Meyerson believes the outcome will be determined by “who will vote,” and it will come down to Republican voter suppression versus Democratic turnout mobilization. “On this issue alone, they’ll directly engage.”