If one looks at the recent polls, it seems like there should be a Blue Wave. The excitement from many progressives and Democrats is palpable. It is still too early to count the chickens. Too much euphoria and folks forget the only poll that counts is the one at the ballot box.
Business Insider came out with one of the direst warnings. They posted a piece titled "New polling shows disastrous warning signs for Republicans ahead of the midterm elections." The article pointed out that in three generic ballot polls, Democrats are up 10, 12, and 14 points respectively. The Politico/Morning Consult poll gave the Democrats a 10 point lead. The NPR/Marist Poll conducted during the 2nd week in September shows Democrats with a 12 point generic ballot lead. A Quinnipiac poll conducted during the same time showed a 14 point Democratic lead.
The question now is whether Democrats can maintain these double-digit leads. According to a recent Brennan Center for Justice report, the effectiveness of Republican gerrymandering requires Democrats to win the popular vote by 11 points if they are to win the House of Representatives.
How do Democrats maintain the generic polls lead? The answer going forward is articulating a narrative that speaks to most. Many activists are currently focusing on issues that affect most Americans from health care to student loans, to criminal justice reform, and more. Democratic candidates must unabashedly take these issues head on. They must do so sooner than later.
Trump is using the media to change the narrative with false advertising. Recently I watched his live presser on Hurricane Florence. He had the unmitigated gall to claim that his administration handled the aftermath of the Hurricane in Puerto Rico perfectly. As I watched, no journalist corrected the record in real time. Afterward, the talking heads pointed out the death toll and mismanagement of assets.
Trump knows what he is doing. The masses hear the interview. A few news junkies hear the corrections and many who are not news junkies are convinced by Trump its fake news. It is a technique that I continue to say makes what journalism students learn in school on interviewing etc. not apply in the Trump era.
Trump continues to tout the economy as being the best in several decades without real-time pushback in news conferences where he makes those claims. One would think that by now journalists would attend those news conferences with cheat sheets so that they could prevent much of their listeners from being misinformed.
In a recent speech, President Obama did a much better job of refuting both Trump and the GOP on their claims.
The former president first reminded the audience of the economy handed to him by his predecessor.
“But when I came into office in 2009, we were losing 800,000 jobs a month. 800,000," President Obama said. "Millions of people were losing their homes. Many were worried we were entering into a second great depression. So we worked hard to end that crisis but also to break some of these longer-term trends."
President Obama then enumerated a few of his economic successes.
"The actions we took during that crisis returned the economy to healthy growth and initiated the longest streak of job creation on record," Obama said. "And we covered another 20 million Americans with health insurance and cut our deficits by more than half, partly by making sure that people like me who have been given such amazing opportunities by this country pay our fair share of taxes to help folks coming up behind me."
He then specified the state in which he left the economy.
"And by the time I left office, household income was near its all-time high, and the uninsured rate hit an all-time low, " the president pointed out. "Poverty rates were falling."
And then Obama went for Trump and the Republicans for their hypocrisy, intransigence, and dereliction of duty.
"I mention this just so when you hear how great the economy is doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started," the former president said. "I’m glad it’s continued, but when you hear about this economic miracle that’s been going on, when the job numbers come out, monthly job numbers and suddenly Republicans are saying it’s a miracle, I have to kind of remind them, actually, those job numbers are the same as they were in 2015 and 2016 and—anyway. I digress. So we made progress, but—and this is the truth—my administration couldn’t reverse 40-year trends in only eight years especially once Republicans took over the House of Representatives in 2010 and decided to block everything we did. Even things they used to support."
In addition to correcting the record as the former president did, Democrats must have a narrative that speaks to every American. Donald Trump with the help of the media that always lack giving the proper context to economic numbers may lead many to believe things are good enough. Because of this, at the time of voting where sometimes indecisiveness can set in, some may decide not to make the necessary changes locally and nationally.
This means we must get our narrative right. We must explain the sugar high the economy is on from the tax cut scam. If we do our job, we will win. Otherwise, we may wake up in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
One of the things progressives and Democrats must do is not campaign solely among those in their base. They can mitigate gerrymandering by activating both non-voters not counted during the gerrymandering of the district as well as winning over voters with policies specific to their personal economies.
Progressives and Democrats have a chance to get the Senate, the House, and many state Senates and Houses if they remember to listen to and speak to their constituents. The Blue Wave is highly possible. Remember that many who otherwise would not vote will if progressives and Democrats continue to push the message that speaks to their wants and needs.