Some observations from “If Democrats Want to Win 2024, They Need to Punch Back Hard” by Mark Green at The Nation:
While it’s obviously hard to predict what issues will dominate the next cycle, lessons from the midterms should inspire Democrats to get back on the offense as soon as early 2023, which the fractious speakership fight can only encourage.
For starters, that means tattooing a very unpopular Trump (plunging to only 31 percent favorability rating in the most recent Quinnipiac poll) on nearly all Republican nominees. He’s the product of their party. And whether he ends up running seriously or not, Trump has the potential to destroy the brand of the GOP for a generation—especially after the six currently sitting criminal grand juries conclude their work.
Failing to do so would be like ignoring the disgraced Nixon in 1974 because he was no longer “on the ballot.” Republican candidates who have been either complicit or silent during Trump’s carnage need to be held politically accountable for shredding the truth and the law. Herbert Hoover was a Democratic piñata for some 50 years; the Republicans ran against Jimmy Carter for 20. Trump should be radioactive at least as long.
Green notes further, “An effective response would not mean merely piling even more Trump scandals onto the existing mountain of them, which largely worsens scandal fatigue among weary voters and a cynical media. More urgent are memorable messages and vivid metaphors that tie together the thousands of separate lies and scandals that already add up to the singular truth that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts when it comes to both Don and Ron.”
Will “pocketbook populism” combined with tougher attacks against the Republican’s contempt for democracy and economic policies favoring billionaires be enough to help Democrats gain ground in 2024? Green argues:
As lower inflation, more jobs, cleaner air, and lower drug prices take effect by the next election, some swing voters may take notice.
Can Democrats then run on both this pocketbook populism and an assault on GOP revanchism to create a “blue backlash”? There’s a new cadre of congressional talent in place to make that case—such as the eloquent House minority leader Hakeem Jeffries, constitutional lawyer Jamie Raskin, wunderkind AOC, and cable-guys Ted Lieu and Eric Swalwell—and keep Republicans on the ropes.
In this crucial interregnum before the transition of the 117th Congress to the 2024 general election, the test is who controls the narrative. Will it be the McCarthy-Greene regime asserting that “87,000 more IRS agents” is Big Brother? That cutting Social Security is essential even if it risks tanking the economy? That the Ethics Committee must be weakened? Or will it be the Jeffries-Raskin bloc responding that the 87,000 number is a Trump-level lie and a euphemism for what is in reality a “Billionaire’s Protection Act,” that failing to increase the debt limit will lead to a “Republican recession,” and that weakening the Ethics Committee is really just a Get-George-Santos-out-of-jail-free card?
Because if above-the-fray Democrats let them, Greene and Musk will be more than happy to flood the zone with their QAnon conspiracies and stochastic terrorism—after all, they are better at threatening violence than winning votes.
The genteel ‘above the fray’ strategy, combined though it was with some highly effective meddling in the adversary’s primaries, may have helped some Democrats in 2022. But 2024 is shaping up to be a brutal year for Democrats — if they don’t sharpen their attacks against Republicans.