by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Four prominent Democratic strategists wrote a memo last week in the American Prospect urging their party’s candidates to ditch the election strategy they’ve been using up to now.
Since February, Democrats have been laser-focused on the issue of abortion. And even before that, they were constantly talking about the Jan. 6 riot and the supposed threats to democracy posed by “semifascist” Republican voters.
As we suspected all along, and wrote about on more than one occasion, nobody cares about these issues. Well, OK, that’s not quite accurate. To put it more precisely, nobody except the completely addicted to politics hardcore base of each party prioritizes these issues.
Acknowledging this fact, the strategists — including Patrick Gaspard, Stan Greenberg, Celinda Lake, and Mike Lux — urge Democrats to start talking instead about the economy.
Democrats appear to be taking this advice seriously. Last Thursday, President Joe Biden actually looked into a camera with a straight face and said that if Republicans win the election, they will crash the economy.
And there we see the problem with this new strategy. According to the latest USA Today-Suffolk University poll, 66% of voters believe the United States is already in a recession. Biden is asking two-thirds of the public to believe Republicans are going to crash an economy they believe has already crashed.
The Democratic strategists seem to have something more subtle and intelligent in mind than Biden’s speech. They want Democrats to acknowledge the increases in prices that come with inflation and to talk up obscure legislation such as the CHIPS Act and the bill Democrats cynically named the Inflation Reduction Act. They want them to show some empathy for the struggles voters are currently having because of the economy and then shift the responsibility to some other perennial Democratic bogeyman — Big Oil, large corporations, price gouging, etc.