Opinion: Democrats are out of touch with American voters

Editor’s note: Alice Stewart is a political commentator for CNN and a board member of the John F. Kennedy Institute of Politics at Harvard University. The opinions expressed in this comment are his own. Read more reviews on CNN.


Every election is a marathon, not a sprint. During the campaign, the candidates cover many kilometers, face countless challenges and hope to face the competition. We are in the final stretch of the 2022 midterm elections and the momentum appears to be in the GOP’s favor. According to the latest ABC News – IPSOS poll, voters trust Republicans more than Democrats on the economy, inflation and gas prices.

Despite President Biden’s promise to restore “the soul of our nation,” many voters are more concerned about their finances. With Biden’s approval rating in the low 40s, it’s clear that voters feel the president is out of touch with the day-to-day struggles. Much rhetoric about democracy rings hollow when the economy is close to flat.

Let me repeat what I have said many times: there is no widespread voter fraud in the country, our President Joe Biden is duly elected because he won the 2020 election, and the attack on the US Capitol on January 6th was wrong. Those who believe otherwise should be subjected to some level of scrutiny. The problem is that people in flyover states cannot afford the luxury of voting to feed the “democracy is at risk” narrative; they have to feed the family.

As I mentioned on CNN this week, people are more concerned with money in the bank than they are with Democracy at the border.

According to the latest CNN poll, 51% of respondents say the economy and inflation will be the key issue in deciding their vote, followed by abortion (15%), voting rights and election integrity (9%), gun policy (7%), immigration. (6%) climate change (4%), and crimes (3%).

This means that Biden’s speech on democracy this week was a good message but bad timing, with the midterm elections just days away.

Meanwhile, Republican candidates have focused on issues that are on the minds of families and voters across the country: lowering food and fuel prices, keeping communities safe and investing in education.

Senator Rick Scott of Florida, chairman of the Republican National Senatorial Committee, made his closing argument on Friday about what a Republican Congress would do about inflation. He said: “The first step, we in government have to do what families do. You live within your means. In addition, we have to figure out how to safely produce energy in this country.”

Kevin McCarthy also outlined the GOP plan to fight inflation in his “America’s Commitment” proposal. His plan is to reduce wasteful government spending, implement pro-growth tax policies, and make America energy independent to lower gas prices. McCarthy also outlined a plan to address security, with law enforcement assistance and securing the border to combat illegal immigration.

Given the poll numbers we’re seeing, I expect the GOP to take back the House and Senate. Some Republican candidates are closing in on their opponents in Senate races. I suspect this is because Republicans focus on issues that are top of mind for voters.

In Georgia, Republican candidate Herschel Walker is hot on the heels of Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock. Walker’s final ad addresses concerns about “mass inflation” and the crimes of the current administration. And in a statement to the Washington Examiner, he said: “Raphael Warnock and Joe Biden have made Georgians’ lives worse than they were two years ago.”

In New Hampshire, Republican Senate candidate Dan Bolduc was smart to focus on the “warming and eating” issues that weigh on Granite State voters in a recent debate against Sen. Maggie Hassan.

It is often said that history repeats itself, and I find this current election cycle reminiscent of the 90s. In their book “Storming the Gates: Protest Politics and Republican Revival,” Washington Post columnist Dan Balz and CNN analyst Ron Brownstein wrote about the so-called “Republican Revolution” that emerged in the 1994 midterm elections during Democratic President Bill Clinton’s first term. . The GOP won control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years, picking up 54 seats in the House and eight seats in the Senate.

Balz and Brownstein discuss three broad trends we still see today: “economic stagnation, cultural fragmentation, and political alienation.”

Today we have inflationary problems, crime waves, reproductive rights debates, border fights and racial conflicts. Every issue is tinged with anxiety about voters and elected officials.

Then, as now, Republicans emphasized the “government is the problem” message to match growing anti-Washington sentiment. The people wanted change and in 1994 they looked to the GOP to deliver it. I hope it will be so in 2022.

The GOP is poised to take back the House and Senate because they listened to voters, listened to their concerns and offered solutions. Democrats have been tone-deaf to the real issues affecting Americans, choosing to focus on threats to democracy over daily worries about the cost of food and gas. This election is about the basic need to feed families, not stoking fears of a fallen Democracy.