What if the Demo­cratic wave crashes?

Wisconsin Gazette - - Editorial -

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.

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