Democrats bet big on ‘Mar-a-Lago Midterm’ strategy

An unusual op-ed published by Fox News this Wednesday argues that Democrats are poised to perform well in the upcoming midterm elections in part because of the influence of former President Donald Trump.

Keep in mind, the op-ed was written by Kevin Walling, a Democrat Party campaign strategist who was a campaign surrogate for current President Joe Biden back in 2020. And so this dubious position isn’t coming from someone on the right.

According to Walling, everything was fine for the GOP up until Biden started scoring some ostensible victories — inflation leveling out, gas prices dropping, the Inflation Reduction Act being passed, etc.

That started the trouble. But things only grew worse, he argues, when the FBI raided Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, causing the entire Republican Party to unite behind the former president all over again.

This, he argues, has drawn attention away from the GOP’s 2022 messaging and in turn reinvigorated the Democrat Party base.

“A midterm election, with a fired up electorate that looks more like 2018 or 2020, will benefit Team Blue in November. Plus any time spent talking about the former president, and not about inflation and rising costs across the board, helps down ballot Democratic incumbents and challengers,” he writes.

(Source: Fox News)

Walling’s piece begins with him outlining how everything was originally hunky-dory for the GOP.

“Rising stars on the right were making trips to the all-important states of Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, and writing books with dreams of occupying the Oval Office,” he explains.

“With President Biden’s job approval numbers underwater, gas prices increasing daily, and supply chain issues affecting everyday Americans, many Democrats were rightly worried about what we might wake up to on Wednesday, November 9th.”

This is true.

“Now, inflation has ebbed, prices at the pump have declined for two straight months, and last month’s job creation numbers, totaling more than half a million, took everyone in Washington by surprise,” he continues.

This is also true. In addition, President Biden’s approval rating has skyrocketed to an average of 41.2 percent, up from a low of 36.8 percent recorded just a month ago.

(Source: RealClearPolitics)

Here’s where Walling starts to lose the plot, according to critics.

“And instead of a strong bench of Republicans articulating a vision for the future, we are yet again only talking about Donald Trump,” he writes next.

Huh?

“In the wake of the Mar-a-Lago search, former President Trump is rallying his base and forcing would-be rivals to go on the record that there was nothing wrong or illegal in taking classified documents, some of our nation’s most sensitive secrets, to his palatial country club estate in Palm Beach,” he continues.

“Literally overnight, all talk of potential GOP 2024 contenders appears to have evaporated leaving Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Sen. Ted Cruz and even Trump’s one-time running mate, Vice President Mike Pence, scratching their heads and pledging fealty to the Don once again.”

FYI, even former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a rabid Democrat, complained about the FBI’s unprecedented raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home.

“Even South Carolina Republican Sen. Tim Scott, who just published a book in anticipation of a potential presidential run, spent the majority of his time on cable news after August 8 answering questions about the Palm Beach raid instead of talking about his brand of politics and how he can take it national,” Walling continues.

“If you thought Donald Trump was no longer the head of the Republican Party, you lose. Republicans have rushed to defend their defeated standard bearer on dubious grounds and the former president is reaping all the political and financial benefits, while draining critical resources and attention from Republicans locked in tough races with less than 80 days until the midterm elections.”

That’s certainly one way to look at it. However, critics on the right vociferously disagree. Indeed, all the comments underneath Walling’s post show them rebutting his points.

One commenter notes that, while it’s true the economy has improved in the past month, these improvements have been negligible at best.

“I was paying less than $2.00 per gallon when Trump was in office. I’m paying close to $4.00 per gallon now. Food keeps going up and I’m dreading winter and my heating oil bill which went from $2.29 per gallon in Trumps last 2 months in office to $6.49 per gallon this Spring. It’s predicted to go to $7.00 per gallon this winter. And I’m supposed to be celebrating?” the comment reads.

Another commenter notes that, despite Trump having been in the headlines in 2020, Republicans still performed well in the House.

“In November 2020 the Democrats lost many house seats in an election that was supposed to be one sided towards them. The reason was the economy. Donald Trump was heavily in the news back then too. Even with all the mail in ballots that were largely one sided towards Biden, the Democrats still lost the House races. This year will be no different. The Red Wave is coming no matter what this opinion writer on fox news thinks,” the comment reads.

(Source: Fox News)

Interestingly, Walling’s outlook coincides with that of Senate Minority Leader Leader Mitch McConnell, who’s suggested that the impressive performance of Trump’s primary picks will hurt Republicans in the general election.

As far as the polls are concerned, Republicans are still poised to take the House. The Senate, on the other hand, is currently slated to remain in Democrat hands.

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Vivek Saxena

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