Democrats have settled on a midterm strategy that focuses on raising vast sums of money to fund negative ads in competitive Senate races. As of now, the plan has only half worked. Democrats have succeeded in marginally reducing the vote share of some GOP candidates, a natural outgrowth of an attack-ad assault. But the ads have failed spectacularly to increase the poll numbers of Democratic candidates, which appear to be bounded by President Obama’s low approval ratings.
In other words, Democrats have succeeded in slightly reducing Republicans’ favorability ratings but have utterly failed at making themselves more likeable.
Unfortunately, those results have failed to alter Democrats’ strategy. Indeed, their latest gambit is to try and convince voters that they are actually excited by a GOP Senate majority because Democrats stand to benefit when Republicans crash and burn under the weight of having to govern. Bill Scher writes for POLITICO:
If the latest round of polls is accurate, Democrats will lose nearly every competitive Senate race, giving Republicans full control of Congress for the first time in 10 years.
This is excellent news for Democrats.
Instead of another two years of the same old gridlock that has turned voters off of both parties, Democrats will get to kick back with a large tub of buttery popcorn and watch the Republican soap opera hit peak suds.
If you think that is anything but a lame attempt at reverse psychology then I have a Bridge to Nowhere to sell you in Alaska. Then again, what else do they really have? Their president is so unpopular that there is little hope that he will be anything than a political drag, their policies—namely, Obamacare—are roundly disliked by voters, the economy is improving but workers’ salaries are not, and their candidates can’t seem to keep their foot out of their mouths whenever they veer off script.
This means that Republican candidates have been presented with a tremendous opportunity to articulate an agenda capable not only of winning in November, but creating sustained momentum for the long term. Fortunately, they appear to be doing just that.
Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus delivered a major address with the goal of outlining the timeless principles that undergird the GOP platform.
“Many have labeled this midterm election a referendum on the policies of President Obama. In many ways it is. And if you asked the country, most people would say they know our party opposes many of those policies,” Priebus told a crowd at George Washington University.
But Priebus went on to push back against the notion that the GOP is just the “Party of No. He reminded voters that the reason the GOP opposes Democrats’ ideas is because we have better ones.
“We oppose [Democrats’ policies] because we know there’s a better way. Republicans have new ideas to solve the country’s problems – bottom-up solutions founded in the free market, compassion, responsibility, and the idea that America is headed for better days,” Priebus continued.
Those ideas he presented are simple. Things like understanding that that there are two types of regulations: Those that protect consumers and those that protect special interests. Or that every child deserves an opportunity to get a great education. Or that the best anti-poverty program is a strong family and a good job.
And the solutions he offered were clear. For example, Sen. Tim Scott’s SKILLS Act to improve job training programs by strengthening the role played by job creators. Or Sen. Mike Lee’s HERO Act, which would break the accreditation cartel in order to expand opportunities for low-income families. Or Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan to lift Americans out of poverty by empowering them, rather than simply overseeing them.
There is a month left until the midterm elections. Democrats are committed to spending millions of dollars in negative ads. Republicans should be committed to presenting audacious, clear plans for positive change.