Jim Crawford: Smuggery in midterms may be ill-advised

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2022

Republican wave no longer looks like a guarantee

The 2022 midterm election was supposed to be a Red Tide, sweeping historic numbers of angry Trumpetts into federal office.

They would arrive, armed with dark conspiracy theories and a joyful quest for revenge.

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Ah, the joy of it all. It would be what senator and Red Team Leader Forever, the Honorable Mitchel McConnell, fondly calls the “No Policy” win, a victory so easy Republicans need not bother telling voters what they intended to do once in command of Congress.

A Sen. Oz from Pennsylvania/New Jersey or Worldwide, once he locates all his homes, would miss many sessions and votes while selling miracle medical cures shipped directly from his congressional office.

A Sen. Herschel Walker would find endless opportunities once elected to share his wisdom on economics, explaining that women suffer more than men from inflation, ‘because they gotta buy groceries.”

Meanwhile, Ohio’s new senator, Republican Trump Lover/Hater, Ohioan/ Californian. J.D. Vance would be stunned at his victory, having run the worst Senate campaign in modern history.

Vance can not be located with GPS and thinks fundraising means having one billionaire in his pocket. But, you know, the Red Wave is supposed to bring him to the Senate if he is not too busy resting from hiding.

The Red Wave had a good plan. History was the plan. History taught that the party in power in off-year elections usually takes a beating. That party being the Democrats, all the Republicans need is to show up, terrible Trumpett candidates in hand, and victory assured.

Republicans have a certain smuggery about the 2022 election. Not only was history affording them the luxury of presenting to voters some amazingly unqualified candidates, but President Joe Biden is also not exactly charming his detractors. Biden has risen in polling from a July favorable of 38.6 perfent support to a modest today rating of 42.4 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight. Combine the above with nagging inflation, and you get Republican smuggery.

Smuggery can be pretty comforting when you can anticipate that your party can win and win big simply by waiting.

But there is a slight problem with smuggery. It assumes a certain static component, a perception that ensuing events will not affect the 2022 election. And that static smuggery may be the fatal attraction of Republicans this year.

Two narratives are influencing voting patterns in ways that benefit Democrats and harm Republicans.

The first narrative is that Republicans and anti-abortion politics are tied so tightly together that they will never be unbound.

That means that a broad majority of women, and an entire generation of women in their reproductive years, will turn away from Republicans not for a year or two, but for decades.

It is not solely the public’s rejection of the Dodd decision but the apparent glee of the Republican extremism rejecting abortion exemptions for rape or incest.

A Republican candidate says that a 10-year-old rape victim should be forced to give birth, or the South Dakota Republican governor considering a presidential run in 2024 says it would be a tragedy to let a 14-year-old victim of rape get an abortion. That extremism is resonating within the voting public as a reason not to vote Republican.

The second narrative is that Democrats are actually getting things done in Washington. From infrastructure to microchip factories, to the environment, to gun regulation and health care, Democrats are doing what has been impossible under Republican congresses.

Democrats have gotten far higher marks on handling the pandemic than Republicans as well. Gas prices have fallen to 20 percent over last year, a significant improvement over early summer prices.

The Republican smuggery of 2022 and its quest to seat extremist Trumpetts may still win the political season. But it could just punish Republicans for ignoring the voters.

Jim Crawford is a retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.