ic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) internal poll of voters in competitive or “swing” congressional districts was leaked earlier in the week. On Tuesday, Politico got the head’s up, and the online outlet SFGATE.com got the slide decks on Thursday.
It was shocking for an audience that knew November 2022 was going to turn into a bloodbath.
The poll found that that 57% of voters in competitive congressional districts agree with the statement, “Democrats in Congress have taken things too far in their pandemic response,” and 66% of self-defined “swing” voters in competitive districts agree with that statement. Hispanic and white voters were equally likely to support the statement (59% each), and Asian and Black voters (42% and 46% respectively). The poll also did not define what “taken things too far” means.
DCCC concluded that COVID-19 criticisms were somewhat less effective than others. In swing districts, 64% of voters agreed with the statement that “Democrats in Congress support defunding the police and taking more cops off of the street.” The internal poll found that 80% of self-defined swing voters in competitive districts agreed with the same statement…
Sixty-two percent of voters in contested districts agreed with the statement, “Democrats in Congress have created a border crisis that allows illegal immigrants to enter the country without repercussions and grants them tax-payer funded benefits once here.” Seventy-eight percent of swing voters in those districts agreed.
Sixty-one percent of swing district voters agreed with the statements, “Democrats in Congress are spending money out of control,” and, “Democrats are teaching kids as young as five Critical Race Theory, which teaches that America is a racist country and that white people are racist.” And 59% agreed with the statement, “Democrats are too focused on pursuing an agenda that divides us and judging those who don’t see things their way.”
This is how the DCCC describes data import in practice.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has proposed a strategy for members and their staff to counter the GOP attacks. This is a move that aims to reduce their vulnerability to attack by GOP officials and operatives. 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. The polling showed that Democrats led Republicans 4 points in a generic vote of swing districts taken from the end January.
It wasn’t all bleak, though: The data showed that Democrats could mostly regain the ground lost to Republicans if they offered a strong rebuttal to the political hits. When faced with a “defund the police” attack, for instance, the presenters encouraged Democrats to reiterate their support for police. And on immigration, they said Democrats should deny support for “open borders or amnesty,” and talk about their efforts to keep the border safe.
If Democrats don’t answer Republican hits, the party operatives warned, 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. But when voters heard a Democratic response to that hit, Republicans’ edge narrowed back down to 6 points, giving candidates more of a fighting chance, especially since those numbers don’t factor in Democrats going on the offensive.
Take a moment to think about it. Your candidates can reduce their 14 point deficit by letting go of all ties to Democrat policies. They will be able to get down only 6 points. As a reminder, the technical term for losing by 6 points is “loser.”
This strategy must work if the voters are profoundly ignorant and candidates lie. It is difficult, even for a professional liar to tell the truth and make the voters stupider than normal, to let go of stuff like these from high-profile caucus members.
It is fascinating to see the way that this story was told. All of these issues–illegal immigration, crime, COVID tyranny, using the school system to propagandize children–are considered “culture war” issues.
Progressives are beginning to worry about this and see themselves in the position of being blamed for 2022. This post is an excellent example of how the progressives see the ax poised over their necks and can’t do anything about it other than cry.
Politico released select findings of an alleged Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) poll that insisted Democrats running for Congress should avoid so-called “culture war issues” as the 2022 midterms loom. Aside from the fact that the poll was presented as good faith advice rather than what it almost certainly is—preemptive scapegoating of progressives in anticipation of a near-certain midterm blow out—the article offers useful insight into how very serious, material issues are dismissed as “culture war” frivolity simply because they are seen as disproportionately impacting people of color or LGBTQ.
This isn’t to say “culture war” issues cannot exist in the sense that relatively low stakes culture issues take center stage at the expense of bigger issues. The recent two-day news cycle about the gender of M&M’s comes to mind. Police budgets and severe border enforcement are very urgent political issues with serious human consequences. Just because they don’t appear to impact our culturally understood and implied “swing voter” of Joe White Guy in the suburbs doesn’t mean they are mere “culture war” fodder. (Though it’s worth noting many of these so-called “culture war” issues, like directing resources from police to social welfare would help working class whites. This is because they serve as an avatar to get left-punched by our cynical elite, not humans.
Ultimately, running right on “culture war issues” is what a party does when it can’t offer big picture economics wins. When it doesn’t support single payer healthcare, universal basic income, free college, or myriad other nominally race-neutral policies, If it cannot provide a meaningful enough alternative to Republicans, just tweaking differing Covid relief packages, then this is the logical end point. The idea that Democrats don’t have the image of a party that cares about “kitchen sink” issues because they haven’t recently done anything to promote robust, cross-racial economic populism, and thus ought to do more of it, isn’t even entertained as an option. No, it must be because they talk about other “culture” issues that are perceived to impact people of specific races rather than white people, or in some post-racial way. The solution therefore isn’t to become more economically populist—it’s to run from anything that polls badly and hope people don’t notice.
All in all, this is shaping up to a most interesting year, assuming Joe Biden hasn’t provoked a thermonuclear exchange with Russia and China, and the economy hasn’t been thoroughly trashed. Slowly, the Democrats realize that most Americans hate some of the liberal policies and rhetoric in just a few congressional districts. After pushing this rubbish for over two years, Democrats now want to distance themselves by calling both its advocates and the rhetoric extreme. This strategy is only possible if the candidates allow it to work. And, as we belong to the “stupid party,” that is a very real possibility.