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Democrats Surge After A Hot Brandon Summer
Welcome To The Upside Down
Ladies and gentlemen, the Democrats are in array. For now.
As someone who has spent the bulk of my adult life watching the Democratic Party score far too many own goals to count while the Republicans rhetorically and morally roll in the sewer while winning elections, this is a strange sensation. But the numbers do not lie.
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Going into the summer, the coming red wave looked to be something out of the bloodbath in “The Shining,” ushering in Kevin McCarthy as Speaker and handing over power to the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Matt Gaetz and Lauren Boebert to conduct investigations into Hunter Biden’s laptop, “woke” generals and the continued existence of transgender people. And while my gut tells me that is still in the cards for the next few years, there has been a surge of support for Democrats in August, the time when historically Democrats lock down midterm election losses (Clinton in 1994, Obama in 2010).
But in the aggregate polls of the generic congressional ballot, Democrats have a one-point lead, essentially a tie. In fact, six of the nine most recent polls cited by FiveThirtyEight in their aggregate show significant Democratic leads when Republicans historically should be ahead. The Wall Street Journal poll released on September 1 shows a 3 point Democratic lead.
We got here in large part because instead of hiding and playing it safe, the Democrats went on offense for a change. Sen. Joe Manchin, who has been the biggest legislative villain of progressives since the presidency and Congress swung to the Democrats, was key to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the biggest package of spending to fight climate change in American history.
I have no doubt that sooner rather than later Manchin will return to form to haunt the dreams of the left (along with Sen. Kirsten Sinema) but a win is a win and the bill was a big win. And Democrats have not shied away from touting the win, in what is possibly an even bigger development.
It has been maddening to watch Democrats sit on top of a popular agenda while refusing to use the tools in their hands to promote it. The American people largely like what Democrats have to offer but the party more often than not seems to feel very real fear at marketing those wins. The Biden administration, especially President Joe Biden himself, has talked up the act, unabashedly bragging about the millions of dollars it will devote to significantly reducing climate emissions — and the jobs that will also come as a result as EV-related manufacturing blooms across America.
Biden also triggered the snowflake right by describing “MAGA Republicans” as “semi-fascist.” While I disagree with the president and believe he should accurately describe the entire Republican Party as a fascist movement, he has not backed down from his description despite days of melting down on the right and support for that toddler tantrum from the mainstream media like CNN. Considering how quickly Democrats tend to back down - like when Biden accurately called out Fox News’ Peter Doocy - this has been a good thing.
The same is true of Biden finally making a call on student debt cancellation. Again I would argue that he shouldn’t have publicly dithered so long on it and that the policy should be more wide-ranging with less hurdles, but it is done and it will be a boon to millions of families struggling with debt. Meanwhile the polling shows the public supports it and not the sputtering fantasies of the right made in opposition. Good.
But we have to be honest and admit that the Democratic surge isn’t all thanks to Biden’s embrace of the “Dark Brandon” meme ethos. I wish.
If Democrats have any hope this year, it is thanks to Republicans still being Republicans, their policies seriously out of touch with the mainstream of America.
Americans, especially American women, believe in the right to an abortion. The Republican abortion bans enabled by the Supreme Court striking down Roe vs. Wade are unpopular.
The culmination of decades of planning and voting by the right has led to a stampede of Republican candidates running away from their anti-abortion positions, trying to scrub their websites of evidence of their misogynist fantasies. Democrats have not tried to play cute with this development, thank God, but instead have largely been using blunt and clear language to make it clear to the public that Republicans are dead set in favor of controlling women’s bodies.
And then of course there’s Trump.
Trump sucks up most of the oxygen in the room thanks to the mainstream media’s love affair with covering him, combined with the cultish devotion that the conservative movement has for him. It is his party, as it has been since 2016. And that means that when the FBI entered Mar-A-Lago to secure the classified documents owned by the American people that Trump stole, it drags down the Republican Party.
I personally don’t believe Trump will truly suffer any personal consequences from any of this, because he never does, but I think the GOP pays a price in the public eye as they did in the 2018 election and the 2020 election for being under his stubby little thumb. The party can’t and won’t quit Trump, and Democratic and independent voters see that and hate it and it pushes them to the Democratic Party.
But don’t get too cocky.
Things look better in September 2022 than they did in June and July 2022 for Democrats, but the historical trend is still with Republicans. Their Senate candidates are a mess (Attacking people who have had strokes! Attacking diversity! Mumbling about bicycles!) and it doesn’t look like they will win a majority after all, but the House still seems likely to flip. Even if it is a weaker Republican majority than the party dreamt about a year ago, a flip is still extremely bad for the country.
But as a perennial member of the wet blanket caucus, I do think it is okay for liberals/Democrats — for a very short time — to enjoy the political surge from the summer for a short time. As a treat. Like for a few days. Not too many. It’s still going to be bad.
But for now embrace the moment that Dark Brandon and company are having.
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Exclusive Kal-El Photo
Kal spends most of my work days sitting on my shoulder, like a parrot. But he also likes to crawl down to the end of my back to snuggle. And I give in to this. And now I have back pain. And life is a struggle. A struggle that a little dog usually wins.