Are Republicans Actually Doing Messaging Right for a Change?

Are Republicans Actually Doing Messaging Right for a Change?
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The Democrats are in trouble, and they know it. But surprisingly, it isn’t only their abysmal performance since taking control of the White House and Congress in 2021 that is destroying their prospects for maintaining control. Conservatives’ messaging has also done tremendous damage to the left over the past year, according to a recent report.

Politico obtained documents related to research conducted by Democrats showing that a significant chunk of battleground voters view the party as “preachy,” “judgmental,” and “focused on culture wars.” The author wrote:

And the party’s House campaign arm had a stark warning for Democrats: Unless they more forcefully confront the GOP’s “alarmingly potent” culture war attacks, from critical race theory to defunding the police, they risk losing significant ground to Republicans in the midterms.

The report continued, explaining that in response to these findings, some Democrats are suggesting the party adopt a new strategy to fend off attacks from conservatives. The author wrote:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is recommending a new strategy to endangered members and their teams, hoping to blunt the kinds of GOP attacks that nearly erased their majority last election and remain a huge risk ahead of November. In presentations over the past two weeks, party officials and operatives used polling and focus group findings to argue Democrats can’t simply ignore the attacks, particularly when they’re playing at a disadvantage. A generic ballot of swing districts from late January showed Democrats trailing Republicans by 4 points, according to the polling.

The campaign committee stressed that ignoring these attacks is not a viable strategy for November’s midterm elections. It recommended that Democrats reiterate support for law enforcement when they are confronted with their history of trying to defund the police. The group urged left-leaning candidates to disavow support for “open borders or amnesty” and to tout their efforts to ensure border security.

The group warned that if Democrats do not craft substantive responses to these attacks, “the GOP’s lead on the generic ballot balloons to 14 points from 4 points — a dismal prediction for Democrats when the GOP only needs to win five seats to seize back the majority.”

According to the research, when voters were presented with a Democratic response, the GOP’s lead dropped back down to six points. This would give Democrats a better chance of closing the gap.

The Democratic researchers suggested that candidates should focus less on policy and instead “demonstrate they fully understand and care about stressors in people’s lives.” They also said Democrats should avoid “stoking divisive cultural debates.”

It appears the Democrats might have a plan for rebutting the criticism levied by the right. Politico explained:

This cycle, however, Democratic officials are working to arm their incumbents with what they believe are the most solid defense to the Republican attacks. Rather than delivering a counterpunch or pivoting away from the issue, Democrats are urged to “correct the record” because “changing the subject risks confirming suspicions.”

Still, Democratic officials clarified they are not trying to offer a specific rebuttal for the most potent issues in each district. Instead, they said the best response is one that is authentic to each member, and each race.

Surprisingly, Republican messaging has been far more effective this year than it has previously. As someone who pays close attention to the culture war, I have been tempted on more than one occasion to look out my window to see if pigs are flying. I’ve even called Hell to see if the temperature has dropped. Jeffrey Epstein says hi, by the way.

The GOP’s focus on issues pertaining to the economy, education, and other kitchen-table issues has proven to be rather devastating to the left, and it is not hard to see why. These are issues on which the Democrats are not polling favorably. President Joe Biden’s approval ratings have been in the toilet since late last year when he bungled the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Democratic lawmakers have had trouble passing meaningful legislation. Moreover, the left decided the best way to win over the American people is by being on the wrong side of almost every major cultural issue.

It can be no wonder, then, that Republicans would take full advantage of the Democrats’ blunders. Conservative media, in particular, has constantly highlighted the progressive move to inject classrooms with far-left woke ideology. The right has done an excellent job of harping on the supply chain crisis and the empty shelves that followed. On crime, conservatives have emphasized how badly progressive politicians have handled the matter.

However, it is worth noting that the GOP’s messaging strategy, while effective, is more of a short-term approach. It will help Republicans retake the House, and perhaps even the Senate, but it will not help them stay in power. The only thing that is missing from the right’s strategy is an emphasis on the solutions they will bring to bear on the problems Americans are facing.

It is not enough to just bash the left and draw attention to their failures and crappy ideas. Conservatives must become more adept at articulating and selling the public on the merits of conservative solutions to kitchen-table issues. Otherwise, they will lose power as quickly as they gained it.

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