What if the Democratic wave crashes?
Donald Trump was elected because of his success at railing about pocketbook issues without offering any solution other than his personal greatness. And, of course, he exploited the biases of uneducated, rural whites. Trump rattled their cages by reinforcing their beliefs that immigrants were stealing their jobs and eating up their tax dollars.
Trump told the nation that elite coastal liberals jeopardized our security by coddling foreigners. He painted experts as unrealistic nerds who had book sense but lacked the common sense to get things done.
In one of history’s most amazing hat tricks, Trump got the “real America” to believe that he was one of them.
Now, more than a year into his presidency, Trump has proven he is unstable, unfocused, uninformed and so bad at leadership that he can’t keep a staff or maintain a stance. He’s also broken his most significant vows to his followers.
All of that should point to a Democratic wave of victory in the midterms this fall, right? So far this year, Democrats are overperforming in Republican districts nationwide. A non-incumbent liberal won the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court race for the first time in decades.
Yet polls show Trump’s approval gaining ground.
With foolhardiness, Democratic pundits are trying to spin the polls rather than see them as a warning sign in a complex, inscrutable electoral landscape.
A recent analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice found that, due to Republican gerrymandering, Democrats would need an electoral wave election of proportions not seen in 40 years to take back the U.S. House.
Still, national Dems seem to think Trump means victory for them, and Wisconsin Democrats are counting on Scott Walker’s anti-middle-class record to bring them success. They actually think the average voter knows how Walker’s sold them out for his own ambitions.
Not so. Many Wisconsin voters don’t begin to grasp the cost they’ve paid for eight years of Walker. As a result, Walker’s approval rating, like Trump’s, has been on the rebound.
When Walker threw his hat in the ring for a third term, one of the “outside” groups supporting him trotted out a television and internet campaign thanking Walker for keeping his promises. That was a smart move: Start the messaging early, because a lie repeated over and over is eventually perceived as the truth.
But where is the counter-campaign? Wisconsin airwaves should be blasting away at the myriad ways Walker has played Robin Hood in reverse, giving to the rich what he has stolen from the middle class and poor. Between now and election time, right-wing media is going to do all it can — and then some — to subvert the truth about Walker’s ethical and economic failings. By the time Dems are ready to address it, undecided voters will already be convinced that the Democratic take is “fake news.”
Recently Walker defied the law and two court orders in an attempt to delay elections that might lead to Republican losses. Instead of calling for the elections mandated by law, Walker ordered an “extraordinary” session of the Legislature to change the law so he could avoid the elections. It’s a reminder of the dozens of changes Walker has made to election laws to keep him and his party in power.
Walker, in fact, has changed a lot of laws to his advantage. The opposition needs to make sure that voters know all about the devious kind of cheating at which he excels.
If progressive donors are reading this, please help make this happen. Don’t wait until after Labor Day to start the campaign. As with any advertising, only lengthy and repeated exposure is effective.
Progressives face a far more difficult year than you think. They’re going to be outspent exponentially. And with 17 — at last count — Democratic gubernatorial candidates, the eventual winner won’t have time to make his/ her case. But he or she will have a lot of time to wound the other candidates if the race turns ugly, as it usually does.
The current political maps are so gerrymandered that Democrats don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of recapturing the Wisconsin Assembly or the U.S. House unless the Supreme Court finds the maps unconstitutional or the predicted Democratic wave is a tsunami.
Get busy, progressives. The “wave” is far from the shore.