It's amazing to see, but Republicans are really digging their own graves
Much has been written lately about the GQP’s unfathomable opposition to the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package (see here, here, here and here). In short, the Democrat’s proposal is incredibly popular, even among Republicans. A Morning Consult poll pegged support at 76% of voters, including 60% of Republicans. That’s bipartisanship. But Republicans in Congress want to play off the old destroy-Obama-at-all-costs playbook, and have put up a wall of opposition to the legislation.
And not only are they rhetorically opposing it, but they’re actively whipping against it, forcing congressional Republicans to vote against it or else. Let’s hope they’re successful, because nothing will make the 2022 midterm messaging clearer than “those checks came from us, they didn’t want to help you at all.”
Indeed, their current stances are so at odds with basic political common sense, it almost makes you suspicious, right? What do they know that we don’t? But no, they think the COVID-19 relief package is like the Affordable Care Act, where they could fearmonger about losing your doctor. Pandemic relief isn’t about taking anything away from you, it’s about giving you cold, hard cash.
The current Republican response is hilariously stupid. It’s stuff like this:
That “$$$”, of course, is checks for people. But even libraries and mass transit aren’t particularly unpopular items, so not sure what they think they’re getting from this kind of messaging. Here’s another one:
For a party that is losing ground with swing voters, not sure why they think that “blue state bailouts” kind of divisive rhetoric gets them anything beyond their old, white, rural, and literally dying off base. “$1.5 million” for something? In a $1.9 TRILLION dollar bill? Does anyone care? And Amtrak is a lifeline for many rural communities. And people like trains.
Part of the GOP’s problem is that they no longer know how to message against an old white male. President Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren? Oh boy, they’d have a field day. But the old guy who doesn’t grandstand or showboat much, keeps his head down, stays professional? They’re at a loss.
So much so that he is a far more popular politician than pretty much anyone else in this country. Some polling has shown positively gaudy numbers for Biden.
Civiqs, which does a great job of filtering out partisan non-response bias (in essence, demoralized partisans refusing to answer polls), has more measured numbers:
For comparison’s sake, Donald Trump is at 42% favorable, 56% unfavorable. And just as important as the toppling, the trend is a good one. Republicans can’t touch him, which is maybe why they’re resorting to this kind of buffoonery:
They’ve got nothing of real substance.
Now, as we look ahead to 2022, take a look at this question, which asks which party better represents you:
That 16-point gap (46% Democratic vs. 30% Republican) is quite dramatic, and is driven by crashing numbers among independents: only 22% think the GOP is concerned about people like them, down from 33% on Election Day. Meanwhile, 36% of independents say Democrats are concerned about them. Let’s keep an eye on this chart in the coming months, because it’s going to become extra clear which party cares about people, and which one is hell-bent on committing political suicide. The damage Republicans are doing to themselves is already extensive. Let’s compare the two parties:
Republican Party favorability: 23% favorable, 65% unfavorable, with brutal trendiness.
Democratic Party favorability: 44% favorable, 49% unfavorable, with gradually improving trendiness.
Republicans already lost the 2018 and 2020 elections, and demographic trends continue to move against them. Trump cost them the White House, the Senate, and the House, and there is zero guarantee his voters will ever turn out for an election without Trump on the ballot (they haven’t before). Yet the Republican Party isn’t just doubling down on Trumpism, it’s doubling down on opposing popular legislation.
Think about it, even a Q-addled Republican will have to think twice in 2022 if she or he has to vote between losing their monthly child credit check from the IRS, or a Republican promising to end any such help. Deliver help to people, and it’s a different playing field. It’s already happening, and the legislation hasn’t even passed into law.
Democrats gifted Republicans the chance to rip out the Trump cancer from their party, but the GQP refused to convict in the impeachment trial. Now Republicans are gifting Democrats the chance to lock in popular support for their party and candidates.
Perhaps it’s time to stop looking the gift horse in the mouth, and just run up the advantage.