The Progressive Caucus PAC decided to find out what voters thought of the Democratic Party so they commission a pollster who set up various focus groups of voters to talk about it.
What they found shocked them. “Voters are not hearing enough about what Democrats have accomplished, what they are fighting to accomplish, and how they are standing up for voters’ values and priorities,” read a Lake Research strategy memo. The memo states that unless the Democrats can get more legislative victories this year, they can kiss the midterms — and their majorities — goodbye.
The study concentrated on liberal “surge” voters and swing voters in competitive districts. That these groups are unsure what Democrats stand for is very bad news for the party.
“Without [former President Donald] Trump on the ballot as a clear villain or stronger definition as a party, Democrats are at risk of losing some of these new voters in 2022,” the memo continued.
The findings, set to be unveiled at a Progressive Caucus meeting Tuesday, are likely to fuel an intraparty feud as it grapples with whether to continue negotiating with Republicans on a slimmed-down infrastructure bill or go it alone on a larger package to address President Joe Biden’s top priority.
The Progressive Caucus is invested in passing a far-reaching bill to expand the economic safety net. Its leaders say delivering on that could help convey to voters what Democrats’ values are.
“They elect us and they expect us to get something done. And if we don’t, it happens at our peril,” said Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., a co-chair of the Progressive Caucus PAC. “If they can’t define us well because of what we haven’t gotten done, then we’re even more in peril.”
It’s interesting because the Democrats are supposed to be in the majority and occupy the White House. And this is the best they can do?
“They did say they want us to work together, but they instantly moved on to, ‘But you got to get things done,’” he said. “They’re not going to give us a lot of latitude to say we couldn’t get it done because of the Republicans, especially when Democrats are officially in charge of everything.”
With the radicals in charge of the party, there is no acceptable compromise with Republicans. It’s all or nothing — except people are telling Democrats “nothing” isn’t good enough.
Republicans are in slightly better shape. Their base wants nothing to do with most of the Democratic Party agenda. But they have the same problem going into the 2020 midterms.
What happens when Trump isn’t on the ballot?
For Democrats, they have no one to strike fear in the hearts of their voters and drive them to the polls. That will probably depress turnout among core constituencies such as minorities and single women.
But Republicans have their own problems trying to figure out how many of the “new” voters in 2016 and 2020 are actually Republican voters and how many are not? How many voted for Trump and no one else? It’s a problem that will plague the party going forward unless Trump is on the ballot in 2024.
Interestingly, the Lake Research memo came to the opposite conclusion of an election autopsy done by three interest groups. That report found that GOP attacks on Democrats’ “socialism” and “defund the police” were highly effective.
But the Lake Research memo didn’t see that at all.
Lake Research said its focus groups found that swing voters “paid only a little attention” to defund the police and “socialism” attacks by Republicans, finding it to be “divisive fearmongering.” But it added that Democrats must address divisive topics head-on as avoiding them would hurt more.
Of course, this is a report done for the radicals in Congress so what else were they going to say? If they don’t think calling for defunding the police will hurt them at the polls, why don’t they keep doing it?
The fact that voters don’t know what Democrats stand for won’t change if they pass radical legislation. They can’t seem to face the fact that their policies are confusing and contradictory — even among Democrats.