Republicans connect with voters while Democrats talk to themselves
With very few exceptions, neither candidates nor parties determine the issues that decide elections. In a democracy, it is the voters that hold this power. In 2022, it increasingly appears that Republicans have their ear to the ground, while Democrats are intent on focusing on matters that data indicate do not match up to the concerns of the rest of the country.
Want some proof of the disconnect between Democrats and the most voters? A recent Quinnipiac University poll asked voters: what is the "most urgent issue facing the country?" Not shockingly, among Republicans, 46% said inflation. For independents, it was 37%. Inflation ranked number one among every demographic: sex, race, age, and education.
So who stood out as thinking other issues were more important than inflation? Yep, your self-identified Democrat. Number one was abortion at 18%. Inflation did come next at 14%. The next two issues in importance were election laws (13%) and climate change (10%).
The point here is, no matter how you or I feel about abortion, election laws, or climate change, they are not top of mind for any group other than Democrats. When politicians turn their backs on what counts to the voters, history says it usually does not turn out well for them.
Poll after poll shows President Biden's numbers deteriorating day after day. A new CBS poll shows a stunning 74% saying things are going badly in America. 70% disapprove of his handling of inflation. Sixty-five percent say Biden has been slow to react. Worst for Democrats, much of the erosion of support for the president is coming from voter blocs key to any Democrat winning — blacks, Hispanics, younger voters, and college-educated women.
Instead of pivoting to advancing a program to address the concerns of voters — inflation, crime, border security, and an education system where parents are empowered — Democrats appear to be tone-deaf when they double down in arguing that President Biden is doing a great job, but voters are just not quite smart enough to know all the good things he and the administration have accomplished.
To make matters worse, the base of the Democrat party refuses to engage voters on what voters say is important to them. Instead, as the data show, their base wants the focus to be on matters they may view as critical but are not in sync with how everyone else sees the world.
It is worth noting Democrats get repeated applause from the usual suspects — the mainstream media, academia, and the world of entertainment. All said and done, however, it is a lot of talking to themselves in a "rah rah" echo chamber in terms of political impact.
As the leader of a national Republican political organization, I become more convinced that 2022 will be a watershed year for the GOP. Our candidates and party apparatus have been relentless in giving voice to doing what is needed to address the issues that are top of mind to most Americans. Instead of allowing ourselves to chase rabbits, we understand that voters are seeking to elect leaders who will not argue that "not much can be done" when it comes to inflation, crime, immigration, and our education system. Republicans are content to allow Democrats to keep talking to themselves to the cheers of their powerful, if few in actual numbers, supporters.
No campaign wizardry or reliance on sophisticated technology can take the place of candidates running for office advancing real ideas on the issues of concern to the voters. It gets even better when the opposition has a tin ear and demands that voters care about what it cares about. This year, it is the Republican Party that continues to connect with the voters, while Democrats continue to talk to themselves. Makes a Republican pretty happy.
Jessica Curtis is the executive director of GOPAC, a national Republican organization dedicated to educating and electing a new generation of Republican leaders.
Image: Carrie Cizauskas.