Beneath the clouds of hand wringing and headlines declaring Democrats dead in the water ahead of this year’s midterms, there are still rays of hope shining through.
Yes, Democrats are now officially trailing by about 2.5 points in 538’s Generic Congressional Ballot (although the difference remains well within reach between now and November). And, yes, the President’s party almost always loses congressional seats in midterm elections–sometimes decisively. According to 538.com, “In the 19 midterm elections between 1946 and 2018, the president’s party has improved upon its share of the House popular vote just once.”
Plus, yes, the early returns of off-year gubernatorial (Virginia, New Jersey) and special elections (7, but, notably, all in deeply red environments) did show the usual swing against the President’s party.
But there’s actually plenty to suggest that Democrats do have a winning message.
Under President Biden’s watch, the US economy added more than 6.6 million jobs, the most in the first year of any presidency. Granted he inherited an economy that was rebounding (with help from his American Rescue Plan) from record job losses during the pandemic, but so what? When did context stop President Trump from endlessly bragging about his “accomplishments”? Those 6.6 million jobs are a real, verifiable figure, and the Biden Administration, as well as Democrats of all sizes and influence levels should trumpet it, hammer it, over and over.
Along that same line of messaging, the unemployment rate has dipped to a 2 year low of 3.6%, and, along with it, wages have increased. As reported by The Observer, “In a striking departure from normal, the lowest paid workers are seeing the biggest gains in pay, said Matthew Bidwell, an associate professor of management at the Wharton School.” Over the past year, “Amazon announced it was raising average starting wages to $18 an hour for new hires and Target said last month it will raise starting pay to as much as $24 an hour.”
Then there’s the Democrat-championed health proposals, like the House-passed bill that would cap insulin prices at $35. “This is a kitchen-table issue,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said to reporters ahead of the bill’s passage on Thursday. “One in four Americans is forced to skip or ration doses of insulin and that’s life-threatening,” she said, noting the legislation “paves the way” for further action on negotiating lower drug prices beyond insulin.”
Yet, 193 Republicans voted against this bill, despite a study by the RAND Corporation, which “observed that the average price of insulin in the US was about ten times higher when compared to the combined average price of all other countries.”
Matt Gaetz, Representative of Florida, even went so far as to tell supporters that rather than Congress capping insulin costs, diabetics should just lose weight.
Further, there’s the certifiably incredible job that President Biden did of pulling together the West in sanctioning and isolating Russia, after its illegal invasion of Ukraine. In terms of real-world, real-time effects, the Biden Administration should brag about what it’s accomplished there, summed up by The Hill as follows: “Designed to cripple Russia’s economy and drive the ruble to an all-time low, the sanctions imposed by EU countries in coordination with the Biden administration include freezing billions of dollars in the assets of Russian banks and individuals and restricting access to the SWIFT financial messaging system. Many other countries have pitched in as well, banning Russian air travel, sanctioning oligarchs, imposing export controls. Perennially neutral Switzerland has joined the anti-Putin coalition. Shell and Exxon have divested their Russian assets; Visa and MasterCard have ceased processing payments; Apple has stopped selling iPhones in Russia; Coca-Cola, McDonalds, and Starbucks have suspended operations there.”
So it doesn’t go without saying that Republicans will sweep the midterms, despite that the out-party almost always has. What must be said, and said again, is that Democrats are the Party of Jobs, of stepping in (again) to Save the Economy from Republican Malfeasance, and of Healthcare, and of Compassion.
Let’s focus on that. Let’s all focus on that. And, for good measure, let’s not miss the chance to point out, yet again, that the Republican Party is the party of cold blooded asshats like Matt Gaetz.