That is the question posed by Adam Nagourney, a loyal Democratic Party foot soldier, in the New York Times: “A Stinging Setback in California Is a Warning for Democrats in 2022.”
The Democrats’ losses came for a number of reasons, including forces particular to California and the complications of campaigning during a pandemic. But as much as anything, they reflected the potency of Republican attacks, some false or exaggerated, that Democrats were the party of socialism, defunding the police and abolishing private health insurance.
This is rich. Nagourney doesn’t cite any Republican attacks that were “false or exaggerated.” It would be interesting to scour the archives of the Times in search of an occasion when Nagourney (or, perhaps, any other Times reporter) has characterized Democrats’ attacks on Republicans as “false or exaggerated.” Like, for example, the Russia collusion hoax, which the Times eagerly embraced and helped to perpetrate. Were claims of Russian collusion false or exaggerated, Adam? The Times isn’t talking.
Further, it is leading Democrats like Bernie Sanders and The Squad who tell us the Democrats are the party of socialism. And Nancy Pelosi, when asked on-camera to explain the difference between a Democrat and a socialist, was stumped. She couldn’t come up with a thing.
Likewise with defunding the police. Does Nagourney think it was Republicans who made “defund the police” a battle cry across America? In a number of cities, Democratic politicians have done their best to make defunding a reality. And, as Ed Morrissey points out, Joe Biden was the only candidate in the Democratic presidential contest who came out against abolishing private health insurance, which the Democrats will surely do if they ever have the opportunity.
The attacks — led in no small part by Mr. Trump as a central part of his re-election strategy — came at a time when parts of California were swept by street protests against police abuses, some of which turned into glass-shattering bouts of looting and confrontations with law enforcement that were heavily covered on local television.
Funny how that happens–what Democrats like Adam Nagourney determinedly call “protests against police abuses” consist largely of arson, assault and looting. Nothing says “I’m against police abuses” like looting a pharmacy, liquor store or jewelry store. There is a reason why countless stores in urban areas were boarded up, and in many cases remain boarded up, and the reason isn’t that someone is “protesting against police abuses.” Further, Democrats in a number of cities, like Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Minneapolis, proved to be so sympathetic to rioters that they were unwilling to take effective measures to stop them. Voters noticed.
One more thing: Nagourney’s statement that riots, looting and arson were “heavily covered on local television” is revealing. The Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, the broadcast networks and other reliable Democratic outlets tried to suppress information about the riots that took place across the country, precisely so that such information would not damage the Democratic Party. But they failed, mostly on account of local news coverage, which was less dedicated to the Democratic cause and more interested in letting viewers know what was going on.
So, are the Times’s fears well-grounded? Will 2022 be a disaster for the Democrats? I certainly hope so, and I think the Republicans will take the House and expand their control over the Senate. (I anticipate winning at least one of the two Georgia runoff elections.) The president’s party almost always loses ground in his first midterm elections. Last time the Democrats elected a new president, Barack Obama, the 2010 midterms were a disaster for them. And there was a great deal more enthusiasm for Obama in 2008 than for Biden in 2020.
The Democrats have other problems, too. Their turnout this year was driven largely by antipathy toward President Trump in some quarters, and by voter fraud. We do not yet know how many of their votes were fraudulent, nor do we know what measures will be taken between now and 2022 to improve election security. But it seems safe to assume that there will be less fraud two years from now (if only because there will be less mail-in voting), and, in any event, President Trump will be out of the picture.
Too, it is highly probable that by 2022, a great many voters will be disillusioned with the rapidly-failing Joe Biden, assuming that he is still president in two years. There is usually an element of buyer’s remorse in a president’s first midterm election, and by 2022 the remorse could be profound.
So on paper, 2022 shapes up as an excellent year for the GOP. Of course, the reality is that we have little idea what the landscape will look like in two years. No one could have predicted in 2018 the events, foremost among them the much-hyped Wuhan flu, that reversed what looked like an easy re-election for President Trump. Nevertheless, at this stage there is every reason for Republicans to look to the future with confidence, and for Democrats like Adam Nagourney to fret.