According to political consultant Dan Pfeiffer, “Democrats can maintain the Senate and expand our majority without competing in a single state Donald Trump won in 2020. All of the key governor’s races are happening in Biden country. The House map is more complicated and we have some Democrats running in Trump districts, but as Dave Wasserman of the Cook Report pointed out, there are likely to be more seats that voted for Biden this cycle than voted prior to redistricting.” This week, New York’s redistricting process added 3 Democratic House seats, for example.
Nonetheless, the leader of our party is struggling in the polls. As a party, we need to do everything we can to strengthen Biden. A midterm strategy based on criticizing the President and performative demonstrations of distance (by our candidates or us) will have the opposite effect. These moments will weaken Biden and weakness makes our chances of winning reelection worse, not better. Presidential approval is highly correlated with midterm success. Remember 2018? An unpopular President made Nancy Pelosi House Speaker again. It can work the other way, too.
In 2022, our top strategic imperative is to reconstitute the coalition that came together to take the House in 2018 and the White House and Senate in 2020. We can win the vast majority of these races without persuading a single person who pulled the lever for Trump. But, we can’t win if our voters are discouraged and disgruntled, and don’t have confidence in our leader. Running away from or running down the Democratic President is a good way to lose. In Pfeiffer’s words,
“Persuading people to stay involved with politics or stick with the Democrats is not an easy feat, but treating the Democratic President as persona non-grata will make it impossible.”https://messagebox.substack.com/p/why-dems-cant-run-from-biden-in-22
Convincing voters that they need to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot will require some sharp, simple messages. But the starting point is to agree that the leader of our party, Joe Biden, is doing a bang-up job. Spread the word about the good things you see in the news every day — from over 200 million Americans vaccinated in less than a year to a retention pond at Killup School in Flagstaff that will protect neighborhoods from flooding, thanks to the infrastructure bill. #ThanksJoeBiden