The Republican Party’s rabid desire to turn America into Gilead gives Democrats a perfect opportunity to turn the tide in the upcoming midterm elections, but only if they join and commit to the culture war.
Earlier this week, his passionate opponents Roe v. Wade conservative Kansas voters looked forward to allowing the Republican-dominated state legislature to potentially ban abortion.
In a surprising twist, Kansas voters rejected the hated amendment with a difference of almost 20 points.
Sure, there can only be one explanation: latte-loving, vegan, avocado-toast-eating liberals who change pronouns as often as their hybrid vehicles emerged and voted en masse out of their biodegradable plastic bubbles. No. The attendance was huge across the board, even in deep red conservative and rural areas. It seems that the majority of Americans in the 21st century recognize women as human beings who deserve to have autonomy over their own bodies and refuse to be handmaidens subject to a radical GOP that will not rest until it creates a Christian theocracy.
ONE Monmouth Poll released this week supported it. American voters’ top concerns after economic policy (24%) were abortion (17%) and gun control (17%). The right to privacy is ultimately a “kitchen table” issue. There’s something about losing a 50-year-old constitutionally protected right to people who claim to be “pro-life” that seems infuriating and hypocritical when juxtaposed against videos of school kids trying to dodge bullets because many Republicans refuse to support gun control . Even with inflation, the pandemic, misinformation and high gas prices, the majority of Americans still want Democrats to retain political control.
These numbers are astonishing in light of President Biden’s numbers dismal approval ratings, which hovered in the 30s, and the fact that, historically, the president’s political party is defeated in the midterms. None of this data tracks the usual political trends. Again, nothing has been normal since a corrupt scumbag was elected president in 2016. Now, we’re dealing with an increasingly hostile Democratic Party that he believes the big lie, we love assault weapons more than our children, rejects scienceand he is willing to possibly ban contraceptives and end marriage equality. It seems that the modern day GOP, supported by right-wing hacks in black robes, will not rest until they aggressively take away our freedoms and push this country back to 1953.
The question remains, will Democrats respond to the changing landscape or play it safe and refuse to engage in hot-button cultural issues for fear of alienating those mythical moderate heartland voters? Journalist Julio Ricardo Varela, founder of Latino Rebels, remains skeptical. “Even after it was clearly demonstrated that a multi-racial, multi-ethnic coalition led to Barack Obama’s historic victory in 2008, it seems that the Democrats of 2022 have completely forgotten those years and are stuck back in the mid-90s, fearing that The ” ethnic’ will upset white voters,” he told me.
Being timid, defensive and afraid is a losing strategy according to Anat Shenkar-Osario, president of ASO Communications, who runs weekly focus groups where she tests messaging strategies with potential voters. According to her, Democrats need to rise up and fight if they want to win over voters and strengthen their base. “Democrats must be violated, because people are hungry for a show of leadership,” he told me, citing swing voters who are “attracted to the decision for its own sake, regardless of the content of that decision.”
She said that explains why they find Republicans attractive, even as they are consistently described in her group as “evil,” “snakes” and a party that “doesn’t care about anybody but themselves.” Republicans seem to use their power to screw up and push their agenda, regardless of whether it’s popular. Senkar-Ozario said the test reveals that expressing passion and certainty makes those voters feel like they’re listening to a leader and “someone who picks up the stick and is a shepherd.”
In its wake Dobbs judging, however, that passionate anger and leadership were lacking in the Democratic Party. Although they were given ample notice that Roe was about to be overturned thanks to a leaked draft opinion, Democratic leaders responded lame fundraising email and license, pitiful appeals for a vote in the interim. It was left to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a few others, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, to go on talk shows, connect the dots for people, offer solutions, and reflect the people’s righteous anger.
Professor Anthea Butler, author of White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in Americashared that frustration, telling me that Democratic voters are often “disgusted [the party’s] inertia and ineffective messaging,” which is disconnected from the urgency of the moment. But he believes Democrats have an opportunity right now to finally respond in a way that “could effectively dismantle the Republican campaign of pseudo-morality by pointing out the cruelty and real results of their fundamentalist regressive social policies that will turn the nation into an uneducated mass of conspiracy-driven, listless human beings.’
Shenkar-Osario agrees, and her data backs it up. According to her, the Democrats’ message should be simple: “Trump Republicans will take away our freedoms.” This message activates loss aversion, a phenomenon in which people are more motivated by preventing a potential loss than by evaluating a future gain. “Once you have something, even if it’s not that big, you’re not excited to lose it,” Senkar-Ozario explained, recalling how people blocked the floor of Congress when Republicans made threats to eliminate the ACA against during Trump’s presidency. Repeating a simple, effective message works, resonates with voters and, according to Shenkar-Osario, “breaks through the noise.”
This “noise” or “flooding the zone with shit” according to Steve Bannon, dominated by a right-wing media ecosystem that manufactures remakes and reboots of the Southern Strategy unleashed during the civil rights movement they terrorize the white majority into voting against their own interests. Everyone by now has heard their verbal excrement: “immigrants will take your jobs,” “CRT is erasing our history,” and “Democrats will take away your guns and your freedoms.” Republicans are fueling a manufactured culture war by activating a permanent threat in which a new group, whether immigrants, blacks, Muslims, feminists, LGBTQ or Teletubbies, will usurp white supremacy in the hierarchy. It’s a vomit of projection, terror and hate slogans repeated endlessly on Fox and the right to the point of becoming gospel. Unfortunately, it works.
The reality, however, is that the Republicans is actually it attacks our culture and liberties. They ban books, punish teachers, threaten businesses, suppress votes, attack the US Capitol, take away our freedom to elect our President, and end a woman’s right to have an abortion.
When Democrats invoke the Republicans’ despicable vision and in turn offer a compelling and clear alternative narrative, they win. Recent examples include Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow, who chose to respond to her Republican colleague’s despicable accusations with a viral video in which she clearly articulated her identity as a white, straight, Christian mom whose values inspire her to reject the GOP’s “hollow, despicable agenda” and anti-LGBTQ bigotry. He promised that Democrats “will not let hate win.” McMorrow’s passion and clarity have been rewarded with a huge uptick in giving and media engagement, and her speech is used as a template for democratic messages. Senkar-Ozario told me that when they tested McMorrow’s speech with and without her references to race, naming race was far more persuasive in a sample of 5,000 voters. So much for not participating in the culture war.
Governor Gavin Newsom is another great example of a Democrat on the offensive. On Independence Day, Newsom ran an ad in Florida listing all the ways in which “liberty is under attack by Republican leaders,” such as banning books, suppressing voters, restricting speech, and criminalizing women and doctors. He called on Floridians to join him in California, a state run by Democrats where they protect and defend freedoms. This was excellent trolling according to Shenkar-Osario, but more importantly, it was a very effective and memorable message.
As Democrats prepare to head into the 2022 midterm elections, facing a fully radicalized GOP that worships traitors, religious extremists, criminals, and Christian nationalists like Marjorie Taylor Greene, they must bring brass knuckles to the knife fight, take out the knees of Republicans if they go. low, and to fully engage in the culture war to stand up for women, people of color, the poor, and other marginalized communities being dragged down by the GOP hate machine.
Shenkar-Osario’s message for Democrats is simple: “Stake your turf, go on the offensive, and always say who you are—what works best on the field and works best with the masses. If your words don’t spread, it doesn’t work.”
It’s time for Democrats to speak up and speak up.