Two separate stories on the Politico.com website do a good job of explaining why both the Democratic and Republican parties are running the risk of alienating some of their voters.
The headline of one story makes an excellent observation: Democrats have a “privileged college kid problem.” Which is so true.
As for Republicans, a story about Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s decision to swing back at Donald Trump’s criticism brings up ongoing questions about the party faithful’s inability to accept the results of an election.
Democrats first. The thrust of the story, largely based on an interview with 29-year-old operative David Shor, is that a lot of the young people Democrats point to as a sign of the party’s bright future actually may be hurting them during elections.
The story, not kindly, describes these young people as “old enough to drive a car but not old enough to rent one without insurance fees, maybe taking a gap year before starting college or else filling a period of post-graduation, pre-employment idleness. They probably majored, or are majoring, in political science or public policy or whatever the equivalent area of study offered by their school is.”
These “foot soldiers,” Shor believes, are younger, more liberal and more ideologically motivated than average voters. Though out of touch with many of the voters Democrats need to win elections, they have outsized influence.
“As a result, Democrats end up spending a lot of time talking about issues that matter to college-educated liberals but not to the multiracial bloc of moderate voters that the party needs to win over to secure governing majorities in Washington,” Politico reported.
There’s some truth here, and some history to back it up. Think about the turbulent 1960s, with Vietnam protests and the civil rights movement. From 1932 to 1964, Democratic presidential candidates won seven of nine elections. But once things got out of hand, Republicans went on a long winning streak.
From 1968 to 2004, the GOP won seven of 10 presidential elections. The point is that once the youthful idealism of the 1960s protests turned to actual ideas about governing, a majority of voters looked elsewhere. This could be happening again right now.
And now, Republicans. A separate Politico story notes that former President Trump never misses an opportunity to slam party leaders in Georgia who rejected his efforts to overturn that state’s Electoral College win for Joe Biden.
“Brad Raffensperger is the only one who refuses to shut up and take it,” the story said. “Raffensperger, who has borne the brunt of Trump’s wrath as the top election official in the state, is running a damn-the-torpedoes re-election campaign that directly confronts the former president — even though it could cost him the GOP nomination.”
Georgia polls show 80% or more of Republicans in the state believe Trump’s election was stolen. But lawsuits to that effect in Georgia and several other states all got rejected. Several federal judges appointed by Trump heard some of the cases. All three of the Supreme Court justices that he nominated rejected an appeal.
So somebody has to say it: Good for Raffensperger for standing his ground.
It’s a mystery why Republicans can’t get over this — just like so many Democrats wouldn’t accept the 2016 results. Too many Republicans sound like the worst football fans, whining that the refs were biased, the game was played at night or the weather was rainy. Not once do they ask if Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric cost him.
The GOP ought to have an eye on 2022 and 2024, seeking informed opinions on how to recover the voters it lost last year. Instead, Republicans won’t let go of 2020.
Jack Ryan, Enterprise-Journal