Axios published an article on Wednesday that will have Democrats burping coffee through their nose. In the 2021 Fourth Quarter, more voters switched from Democratic-leaning to Republican-leaning than at any point in Gallup history.
According to Axios:
The findings:In Q1 last year, 49% of U.S. adults identified as Democrats or leaned D. 40% identified as Republicans or leaned R. By Q4, 42% were Ds or leaners, and 47% were Rs or leaners. Both the 9-point D advantage in Q1 and 5-point R edge in Q4 are among the largest Gallup has measured, going back to 1991.
Jones tells me this was the biggest swing in a single calendar year: “There were a couple that were close — 1995 went from +5 Rep in Q1 to +7 Dem in Q4 … 1992 went from +1 Dem in Q1 to +12 Dem in Q4 … 1994 went from +7 Dem in Q1 to +3 Rep in Q4.”
In this writer’s opinion, the problems can be traced straight back to one of the Democrats’ historic weaknesses: messaging. The numbers follow President Biden’s popularity almost number for number and both Biden and his team have done a horrendous job telling their story. Though – to be fair, they simply don’t have the ready-made machine Republicans lean upon to invent their own world.
Still, Biden’s numbers were stratospheric when he was doubling up on his promise to get vaccines into arms in the initial first 2020 quarter. Strong supply organization kept up with the massive demand and there were reasons for personal and corporate optimism.
Then, of course, approximately 33% of Americans refused to get vaccinated, bringing the program to an almost overnight halt allowing COVID to fester as a huge problem. Of course, as COVID “Proper” became COVID “Delta,” contagiousness went up and so did the number of young people dying. Omicron then followed (this was all predictable) and seems to be able to infect everyone, though – again, vaccines and boosters serve as a wall to acute illness requiring hospitalization. But COVID’s continued presence gave the less sophisticated a chance to say “told you so” and the Right-Wing media machine blamed Biden and his “inability to manage the disease,” perhaps the most brass statement in history. COVID is a huge problem because it was mismanaged in its initial stages (unmanaged?) and it continues because people like Tucker Carlson explore ivermectin while the vaccine/booster stops the disease in its tracks.
Afghanistan. The DOD under Biden managed to pull off the largest airlift in history, despite the chaos caused by tens of thousands of Afghans attempting to flee the Taliban, finally doing what no other administration could do – end America’s longest war. That the Afghan government collapsed as it did may or may not be an intelligence failure, but it was the 13 American deaths that resonated with the American public. The deaths came from a terrorist attack carried out by ISIS, not the Taliban. ISIS is the organization to which Trump had essentially surrendered as he ordered forces out of Syria on the basis of an overnight phone call. Trump was as responsible for those deaths as Biden.
The economy is both in trouble and unbelievably strong. Biden got much of the infrastructure bill passed. Unemployment is at a near all-time low, jobs are available everywhere, wages are increasing… and inflation, global inflation, is out of control. The problem, of course, is the supply chain, due to COVID. Trump called the problem the “supply change,” and bragged they never even talked about it. Thanks, because the initial phases would have been the time to plan for two years down the road when the disease impacted business worldwide. There is very little the Biden administration can do about it.
All of this has been dumped on the Dems, and Biden through the powerful propaganda unit that functions as an arm of the MAGA RNC, Fox, et. al.
But there is hope. Axios noted that December showed the slide slowing:
Gallup’s December tracker showed the two parties even — 46% Republican/leaning and 44% Democratic/leaning.
How was December fundamentally different? The nation saw an avalanche of evidence indicting the Trump administration in a number of scandals, but primarily the lie about the Big Steal. The country saw former Trump officials and leading Republicans scared, afraid to talk. Fear is never a good look.If one is going to rely on Hannity for propaganda, why was Hannity texting Trump to say “Stop this!”
The anniversary of January 6th only reinforced MAGA culpability and jogged people’s memories as to the awfulness of the Trump administration and his control of the Republican party. Damning evidence continues to drip apace. There is talk about prime-time live hearings this spring. Republicans will have a hard time getting the focus back upon the Biden administration.
Last, we see divisions ripping through the normally airtight MAGA unit. McConnell and Trump are in an open battle. DeSantis seems to be goading Trump, perhaps sensing that Trump is scarred and scared. Senator Rounds admitted Trump lost fair and square, asking others to come forward. Trump’s last rally was so stale and dead it likely hurt him, deeply, far more than helping him. There were no important GOP pols in attendance, where that was once mandatory. And a Trump could be indicted at any point on any day.
So, despite the horrific year that the Democrats just endured, much of it can be blamed upon messaging alone. Republicans refuse to be vaccinated, Biden did actually end the Afghan war, many parts of the economy remain stronger than ever. Democrats are talking about extinguishing student debt, a leaner Build Back Better and other popular moves, while Republicans seem to have no plan going forward other than to look backward at “rigged” elections, which will likely appear less and less rigged come summer.
Do not panic.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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