The Macomb Daily
Democrats have to deliver on kitchen table issues
A new Congress may have kicked off in January, but eyes are already looking ahead to the 2024 campaign season. Last election cycle, Democrats outperformed expectations and experienced historic midterm success. But now, facing rumors of key retirements and an unfavorable slate of Senate seats to de- fend, Democratic Party leaders and political advisers are searching for a strategy to retake the House and keep control of the Senate and White House.
If Democrats want to know what they have to do to replicate last year’s midterm success, they have to look at the critical support they earned among older Americans. Voters over the age of 45 — the most powerful segment of the American electorate — delivered for Democrats and rewarded the party for running on a platform centered on kitchen table issues. They blunted what experts predicted would be a Republican red wave on election night. If Democrats want to maintain the support they’ve earned among older voters, they’d be wise to double down on a campaign message built on everyday issues.
While Democrats may have lost the gavel in Congress’ lower chamber in the midterms, the party mitigated losses in crucial House races by centering their campaign message on kitchen table issues. In the country’s most competitive House districts, data make it clear that the contrast between extreme Republican rhetoric and Democrats’ focus on everyday issues caused support for the GOP among voters over 50 to evaporate.
Compared to surveys taken over the summer, which showed a 10-point lead for Republicans with older voters, new numbers indicate that Democrats emerged from Election Day with a 3-point advantage with voters over 50. Data from exit polls show that these voters favored candidates willing to work across the aisle to pass commonsense legislation and cited issues like inflation and threats to Social Security and Medicare as their top concerns.
While shrewd campaigning and a message centered on kitchen table issues might have resulted in electoral success for Democrats, there’s no guarantee that older voters will vote blue again in 2024. If Democrats want to build off the progress they made, party leaders need to put their money where their mouth is and deliver on their promises. That means pushing back against Republican plans endangering Social Security and Medicare and fighting for proposals to expand retirement and healthcare benefits. It means building on legislative wins to lower the cost of prescription drugs and working across the aisle to find policy solutions to drive down inflation and cut costs for the millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet.
Now, Democrats have a chance to do just that. With control of the White House and Senate, Democrats can set an agenda that’ll put typical Americans with everyday issues first. They have the chance to prioritize a policy platform built around protecting Social Security and Medicare, reducing the prices of prescription drugs, and slashing costs for Americans … the issues that drove older voters to the polls to support Democrats in the midterms.
If the Democratic Party wants a plan to build on its success in 2022, now it has it.