David Horsey today gives us something to ponder in his op-ed No good deed … The Seattle Times:
But, in much of the commentary about the need for Democrats to focus their storytelling, there is an underlying assumption that may prove fallacious. That assumption is that voters will be receptive to a message about all the good stuff in the Democrats’ legislative product and will reward the party accordingly. Is that really true?
Republicans have achieved quite a bit of success by dispensing with any coherent legislative agenda. They run on red-meat issues like abortion, immigration fears, wars on Christmas, creeping socialism, antifa fantasies and stolen elections. The most pertinent current example is the success of the Republican gubernatorial campaign in Virginia, where suburban female voters were scared away from the Democrats by GOP rants about racial propaganda being foisted on schoolkids.
Elections are decided by about 10% of citizens in the middle of the political spectrum who do not pay a lot of attention to the details of legislation. Polls show that a disturbingly high number of Americans are unaware of the hundreds of billions of dollars the Biden administration pumped into the economy last year to keep businesses afloat and to keep solvent the many people who lost their jobs due to pandemic shutdowns. It is quite likely that, next year, Democrats will not get the credit they deserve for the important and possibly transforming legislation they are passing now, no matter how smart their messaging campaign may be.
The real lesson is this: Democrats need to accomplish as much as they can now while they control Congress, not because it will help them win in 2022, but because it is the right thing to do.