How Republicans Can Help Democrats to Win the Midterms...for the GOP
In a previous article, this writer urged the GOPs to beat the historical trend favoring the out-of-power party in a new president's first midterm election by tying ostensibly moderate local Democratic candidates to the national – and far more radical – national party.
To keep the House and Senate, Republicans need to show voters what they would be getting from a House and Senate controlled by the Democrats: an agenda far to the left of what most red states and red districts would support, which agenda would be pursued regardless of any opposition from moderate Democrats, for the simple reason that moderate Democrats are a tiny, increasingly endangered species in their party.
And just what would America be getting from a Democratic House and Senate?
Ross Perot famously described the national debt as "a crazy aunt we keep down in the basement. All the neighbors know she's there, but nobody wants to talk about her."
Make "crazy aunt" plural...
...add a few crazy uncles...
...and, well, let's just say this is not your grandfather's Democratic Party.
But, unlike Perot's crazy aunt, the crazy aunts and uncles have no intention of being locked in some catacomb beneath the Capitol Building. They demand to stand center stage, proclaiming their views to the world.
Republicans should help them.
Republicans accuse the Democrats of not having a governing agenda. Not true. Democrats have an agenda, all right. But the elites, whose job it is to win elections, know that if that if heartland voters were aware of that agenda, they wouldn't vote for them.
Fortunately, and despite all attempts by more practical minds in the Democratic leadership to suppress them, a number of progressive candidates are mounting strong primary challenges to their more traditional compatriots. Depending on how successful progressive Democrats are in placing on the November ballots, much of the GOP's work will have been done for it.
It is about the centrist candidates, whether de facto or in-name-only, that Republicans need to worry. In any red state or congressional district where sensible Democrats manage to field a centrist or centrist-seeming candidate, such a candidate will attempt, as Conor Lamb successfully did in Pennsylvania's 18th District's special election, to distance themselves from the national party, proclaiming their personal views to be more moderate than those of the national party.
Republicans must not let them get away with it. When a Democratic candidate tries to appeal to local voters by divorcing himself from the far-left progressives, who dominate – indeed, are the Democratic Party – it is essential for Republicans, à la the Mafia and Michael Corleone, to pull them back in. When Democrats portray their party as this...
...Republicans should remind local voters that the national party is really this:
Heck, add the shark attack theme from Jaws to the above photo, and that's a pretty scary campaign ad, right there.
Ironically, to win, Republicans need do only what Democrats should want to do themselves: publicize – ideally, with actual quotes, sound bites, and video clips – the Democratic platform. For example:
- Unlawful Immigration – Immigration consistently ranks at or near the top of voters' important-issue lists. Most heartland voters want strong curbs on unlawful immigration, including – yes – the wall. The national Democratic Party, not so much.
- Democratic Candidate X's views and promised voting stance, however moderate, won't matter in Congress. A vote for the Democratic candidate is a vote for open borders, if your vote puts the Democrats in charge.
- Gun Control – In reality, a euphemism for gun confiscation. Democrats, at all levels, have long made known their desire to ban so-called assault weapons (civilian semiautomatic rifles that merely look like military-grade, fully automatic weapons). And in a recent poll, 82 percent of Democrats voiced support for banning not just "assault weapons," but all semiautomatic weapons. More than a third would repeal the Second Amendment. Meanwhile, 78 percent of voters in another poll said gun policy is "important to their midterm vote."
- "Democratic Candidate X's views and promised voting stance, however moderate, won't matter in an overwhelmingly liberal Democratic Congress. A vote for Candidate X is a vote for gun control."
- Taxes – House Democratic minority whip Steny Hoyer said Democrats "would look to raise revenue" ("revenue" meaning "taxes") in a Democratic House and Senate.
- "Democratic Candidate X's views and promised voting stance, however moderate, won't matter in an overwhelmingly liberal Democratic Congress. A vote for Candidate X is a vote for 'Chuck and Nancy' to raise your taxes."
- Impeachment – A recent NPR-PBS News Hour-Marist poll confirms what most Americans believe: impeachment is not a winning issue for Democrats in 2018. But try to tell that to the Democrats' rabid Trump-hating base, who will demand nothing less.
- "Democratic Candidate X's views and promised voting stance, however moderate, won't matter in an overwhelmingly liberal Democratic Congress. A vote for Candidate X is a vote to impeach President Trump."
These are just four of the most salient issues Republicans can, and should, use to tie local Democratic candidates to their extreme, and unhinged, national party. There are others. What matters is to ensure that voters understand that, regardless of a local Democratic candidate's professed views and pledges on how he would vote, a vote for that candidate is, for all practical purposes, is a vote for the national Democratic Party's über-liberal agenda.
Do heartland voters really, really want to associate themselves with grown men and women who dress in silly costumes, burn American flags, march against Israel and for jihad, and burn effigies of the president? Because that's what heartland voters who vote for the local Democratic candidate would be doing, and it manifestly behooves Republicans to make sure these voters understand that.
Republicans could do worse than run ads showing rank-and-file Democrats acting out, with a tag line asking heartland voters: "Are these the people you want governing America?"
Finally, remember the age-old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. That is, why wait for campaign season to neuter moderate Democratic candidates? Why not start early and perhaps prevent such candidates from getting on the ballot in the first place? Why not sow a little dissention in the Democratic camp in the Democratic primaries (emphases added)?
With their forceful intervention in [local primaries], national Democrats have lunged into an impatient new phase of the 2018 primary season – one in which they are clashing more openly with candidates and local political chieftains in their drive to assemble a slate of recruits for the midterms.
Vive le clash.
Republicans, if they are smart (said the writer, stifling a laugh), will seize every opportunity to call out moderate Democratic primary candidates to state definite positions on all of the hot election issues, thereby forcing them into a lose-lose-lose situation:
- Stand with moderate and conservative voters, oppose the leftist agenda of the national party (and its progressive activist base), and lose the primary.
- Stand with the activists and their ultra-left-liberal platform, win the primary (maybe), and lose the election.
- Avoid taking any strong position at all, alienate both groups of voters, and lose either the primary or the election.
As for Republicans first watching the Democratic debacle and, later, celebrating retention of the House and Senate, in defiance of the historical odds, the only question will be whether they prefer their popcorn with or without butter.
Gene Schwimmer is a New York and New Jersey licensed real estate broker and author of The Christian State.