The results of Election 2021 were disappointing for the Democrats — there is no way you can spin it any other way. Democrats struggled in Virginia and New Jersey due to voter anxiety about inflation, the Republican/Delta variant and the Democratic infighting in Washington. The good news — if any — is that this was a wake up call. We Democrats still have time to turn things around by November 2022.
The victory of the GOP in Virginia got the most attention. That result will be hard for them to replicate in 2022 since Glenn Youngkin managed to convince Trump to stay out of Virginia. Both Youngkin and the GOP gubernatorial candidate in New Jersey ran away from Trump.
The Republicans successfully walked the tightrope on Trump in 2021 but that will be impossible to replicate in 2022. Trump will campaign extensively for Republican candidates all over the country next year and the GOP will nominate many Trumpy Congressional candidates in 2022. Trump’s return will remind swing voters why they hate him and they will return to the Democratic column.
Much was made about the role of the critical race theory (CRT) in Youngkin’s victory. Shamelessness is the GOP’s superpower and once again, Democrats and the “liberal” mainstream press were caught flat footed by fantastic GOP lies. Democrats can’t win elections by ignoring GOP racist dog whistles and running on popular issues. We must confront these attacks head on.
In a recent NY Times opinion piece, Tory Gavito and Adam Jentleson established the template for rebutting these lies: “Instead of ignoring race while Republicans beat us silly with it, Democrats must confront it and explain that powerful elites and special interests use race as a tool of division to distract hard-working people of all races while they get robbed blind. Then pivot back to shared interests. The pivot is critical: Without it, Democrats are simply talking past voters, while Republicans play on their racial fears…
By confronting race as a tool of division, and then pivoting to shared interests, Democrats can offer an optimistic, inspiring and even patriotic vision. This is the approach that rocketed Barack Obama to the White House. As an African-American, Mr. Obama was never allowed to ignore race. Forced to confront it, Mr. Obama offered Americans a vision that mobilized a broad, diverse coalition — while also persuading white voters. In 2008, Mr. Obama won the highest share of the white vote since Bill Clinton in 1996.”
In addition to rebutting the usual GOP smears, Democrats must emphasize President Biden’s excellent record as president. We can’t count on the mainstream press to do it for us. Things in America are improving.
Simply stated, Covid cases are down and vaccines are up. According to Dr. Monica Gandhi: “Immunity is rising, and the approval of shots for young children is one of the last thresholds before a return to greater normalcy. Many experts believe that 80 to 90% of the population needs to be vaccinated to bring Delta under control. But we may be approaching a comparable level of immunity now because of how many Americans have been vaccinated, survived COVID-19, or both.”
The decline in covid cases is already leading to a stronger economy. In October, the US economy created 531,000 new jobs — beating expectations and a huge increase from September. Since Biden has been in office, the unemployment rate has declined from 6.3% to 4.6%. The economy has recovered approximately 80% of the jobs lost during the Trump pandemic.
“This was a strong employment report that shows the resilience of the labor market recovery from the pandemic,” Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco, told The New York Times. “I think we will see a pretty strong bounce back in economic growth in the fourth quarter.”
Since Biden was inaugurated, the U.S. has added more than 5.6 million jobs. This reflects the rebound from the lows of the pandemic, and it means that Biden has added more jobs in the first 9 months of his presidency than the last three Republican presidents — covering 16 years — combined!
The economy will be further strengthened by the passage of the Bi-Partisan Infrastructure Bill and Build Back Better. According to a new report from Moody’s, President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure deal and Build Back Better Framework will add 1.5 million jobs per year and increase GDP by nearly $3 trillion relative to the baseline in the next decade. White House tweet.
Democrats will not only be boosted by an improving economy but we will most likely be handed a powerful, cultural wedge issue by the Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court. It is widely expected that the so-called “conservatives” on the Supreme Court will either overrule or gut Roe v. Wade in 2022. That issue will convince suburban women and many independents to vote Democratic again.
The imminent Supreme Court decision on Roe will highlight GOP extremism. Democrats must run hard against GOP radicalism and sabotage. The GOP platform for 2022 is to stiff America’s creditors, lay off 6 million Americans and to prolong the pandemic — all to sabotage the country.
Here in Nebraska we can make a big difference in the races for the U.S. House in both CD01 and CD02. In Nebraska CD01, longtime incumbent Jeff Fortenberry has been badly wounded by being indicted for lying to the FBI. Already, State Senator Patty Pansing Brooks has signaled her intention to take on the indicted Jeff Fortenberry. This is a winnable race.
Similarly, the CD02 race is winnable. Don Bacon is a hyper partisan Republican and an ardent Trump supporter. The incumbent Nebraska CD-02 member of Congress is running on a phony platform of bi-partisanship and civility. Bacon is a loyal GOP party solider and he has a history of running deeply dishonest and vicious re-election campaigns.
Bacon is one of the most vulnerable GOP House incumbents in the 2022 cycle because Joe Biden carried CD-02 by a 52% to 45% margin in 2020. Both Tony Vargas and Alisha Shelton have thrown their hat in the ring. Let’s repeal Don Bacon and replace him with a new member of the U.S. House who will represent the people — not Donald Trump or the GOP billionaire donor class.
We need to make GOP corruption, sabotage and extremism the centerpiece of the 2022 campaign. There will be a lot of fired up Democrats and vaccinated people at the polls next year. They know that the Republican Party is completely unfit to govern. “Don’t agonize; organize. No whining; just winning.” Nancy Pelosi.