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Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: Teachable Moment Incoming for Democrats

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is excerpted from The Liberal Patriot:

In my latest at The Liberal Patriot, I look at Democratic prospects for the 2022 election, what, if anything, they can do to improve those prospects and what they need to learn from the likely election outcome.

“How bad will the 2022 election be for the Democrats? In all likelihood, quite bad. Biden’s approval rating is bad, his rating is worse on the most important issue, the economy, and it is truly terrible on high profile, contentious issues like crime and immigration. Democrats are behind on the generic Congressional ballot, despite the tendency of this measure to overestimate
Democratic strength. The results of special and off-cycle elections indicate a very pro-GOP electoral environment. And midterm elections are typically bad for the incumbent party anyway.

So there are not a lot of good signs here. In fact, hardly any. The prospect of a very serious wipeout does seem plausible. A case along these lines for the Senate was made by Simon Bazelon on Matt Yglesias’ substack newsletter. His approach was very simple. Estimate what the Democratic disadvantage on the Congressional ballot is likely to be at the election (-4.5) and compare that to Biden’s advantage in 2020 (+4.5). That suggests a 9 point pro-GOP shift in the national electoral environment which, applied across states would imply no Senate pickups for the Democrats from the Republicans and the loss of their on-cycle Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and New Hampshire Senate seats (and control of the Senate) to the GOP. The outlook for 2024 is even worse, implying that even good Democratic performance in the Presidential contest could still leave the Democrats with only about 42 Senate seats.

As for the House, variants of the same approach by Amy Walter and Henry Olsen suggest Democratic losses could reach 25-40 or so seats. That of course is much, much more than the Republicans need to flip control of the House.

What passes for optimism here can be gleaned from Alan Abramowitz’ 2022 election forecasting model, presented on Sabato’s Crystal Ball. Abramowitz uses a very simple model, predicting House and Senate seat swings from generic Congressional polling and seat exposure in each body for the incumbent party. Walking in Bazelon’s estimate for the future Congressional ballot margin, Abramowitz’ model predicts a loss of around 23 House seats and little, and perhaps no change, in the Senate.

What can the Democrats do to avoid their apparent upper bound of losses and wind up closer to Abramowitz’ prediction? One approach it to emphasize the “roaring” economy with strong growth and historically low joblessness. The problem here is that inflation has eaten up workers’ wage gains from the hot economy so that real wages have actually gone down in the last year by 2.7 percent. And people just generally hate inflation and encounter it constantly in their daily lives. That and continued supply chain difficulties account for voters’ sour outlook on the economy. It is unlikely that Democrats can talk people out of these views by emphasizing something they already know (the job market is good!)”

Read the rest at The Liberal Patriot!

4 comments on “Teixeira: Teachable Moment Incoming for Democrats

  1. spatrick on

    I have an idea for Ruy Teixeira.

    Maybe the next time he wants to write for his Substrack, perhaps it will be about how crazy the Republican Party is and has become instead of continuing to attack other Democrats.

    Because the reality is, as far as how makes policy for Democrats, it comes from the White House, the leadership in Congress and local elected officials like mayors and governors.

    And nearly all of these people are either centrists or center-left. Very few are from the far left and the ones who are have very little influence or legislative accomplishments.

    So bottom line is the people who Ruy Teixeira align with basically run the party. Continuing to criticize a faction which does not because some city council-member (who more than likely is a Green or a member of the DSA) says “Defund the Police” is not only waste of time but utterly counter-productive.

    Because Teixeira’s faction has won the debate and largely has the power. Why does he continue to punch down? Because – and I agree with Ryan Cooper and I don’t very much – they want someone to blame for a bad mid-term election result that’s already “baked in”

    Sorry, that’s not going to cut it. Especially when last year the more liberal Gov. Murphy of New Jersey was still re-elected while the centrist and Clinton-acolyte Terry McAuliff lost in Virginia (albeit by a very close margin).

    While the Dems don’t need a far-left they do need liberals to win (something they forgot about in Virginia) like it or not. You want people to do the dirty work of politics, attacking them and then expecting them to work for you isn’t a very smart strategy.

    Maybe the next time Ruy Teixeira writes for his Substrack, he should writing about the other party and how messed up they are.

    And it’s not just Ruy, but other writers who are smart and whose work I enjoy and yet just are part of the same, same rut.

    James Carville said it best recently. Dems need to stop their whining and attacks on each other and go after the Republicans for being crazy or being Russian-sympathizers. The “Trump-Putin” Axis, I like that term. Instead of defend, attack!

    Or Ronald Reagan best put, we need to stop talking to each other, and about each other and start talking to the American people with the message they are waiting to hear.

    • Victor on

      Texeira is a political commentator.

      What about all the left attacks on Biden over environmental policy, racial issues and immigration from members of Congress? We are not talking about a few people.

      Biden’s caving on Title 42 shows that he is not governing from the center.

  2. Bob Mulholland on

    While Western Media hyperventilating that Putin’s Military Strategy is a Disaster in Ukraine, NATO is spending trillions of dollars to help Ukrainian families, millions are fleeing Ukraine to overload European cities & schools (Poland’s Hospitality won’t last), gasoline prices over $6 (Putin got Saudi Arabia signed off on OPEC + Curbs), worst Inflation in 40 years and with Russian & Ukrainian wheat about a third of all wheat exports cut off (Egypt will be hit hard, maybe causing riots), leading to the cost of bread doubling in America, America planning to send more LNG ships to Europe which will lead to heating bills doubling next Fall in America, which will guarantee the Republicans take over complete control of Congress in the Midterms and then if Trump runs (depending on his Diabetes) in 2024, he will get elected to another term, seems like a good political strategy by Putin. When the Soviet Union collapsed, NATO decided they wanted a confrontation with Russia, well they got it. America sent weapons to South Vietnam and Afghanistan for decades. As Jack Kerouac said- the War in Vietnam was a Conspiracy between South & North Vietnam to get American jeeps. Today the Taliban are driving around in Humvees. Ultimately, there will be “Berlin Wall,” between the most Eastern part of Ukraine and the Ukraine. In the meantime all sides are committed to keeping the War (Congress & American Reporters love Wars), going until hundreds of towns are leveled and maybe 10 million Ukrainians have left Ukraine.


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