Democrats forget how they got here

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.)

The good news for President Biden and his party is that they came out of August much better than they started. The bad news is that they are now well aware of this fact, but mostly unaware of the reasons.

The two flattering deceptions that are most irresistible in politics are 1) our side lost because we were too virtuous and didn’t want to lie, cheat and steal like the other guys, and 2) our side wins because the voters love us. really.

The Republican Party has been muzzling the former for nearly two years and is therefore unable to articulate a message about the future or temper the more somber and angry voices within the GOP. For most of the same period, Democrats struggled with the second self-deception. In our age of intense negative partisanship, voters are more likely to vote versus a candidate or a party rather than for their. This was especially the case in 2020, when the race was a referendum on the suitability of the incumbent. donald trump lost this election far more than Biden won it.

But since then, Democrats have struggled to understand that their party’s only discernible mandate was to stop the crazed cavitation of the Trump era. Surprise victories in Georgia’s Senate runoff election gave Democrats the Senate and stoked party complacency vibes, and helped obscure the truth: that Georgia and other red states weren’t getting so much more progressives that they rejected republican kookism. The result was a mostly wasted year of internal Democratic debates over progressive priorities, even as swing voters made it clear they were primarily concerned about inflation and public safety.

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