The Democrats will lose their control of the House by a “big majority” if they campaign on a stridently progressive, left-wing message, according to one of the top strategists in the Democratic Party. Yet, this source believes his party will stick with the Biden administration’s approved talking points — despite the electoral risk — which, in turn, will set up a midterm election outcome that “will be a foregone conclusion” in favor of the GOP. With six months to the midterms, and Republicans polling well above average, he believes the force most likely to stop the Republicans from electoral success is themselves.
Democratic campaign consultant Doug Schoen, a former advisor to President Bill Clinton, told this reporter that Democrats who cling to the administration’s policies will pay the price in November.
“I would say that the agenda of the Biden administration is a loser,” said Schoen in an interview with The Daily Wire. “We’ve seen that in poll after poll and special election after special election.” The most dramatic example may be the Republican sweep of Virginia’s top state races last November, as Glenn Youngkin, Winsome Sears, and Jason Miyares were elected governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, respectively, in an increasingly Democratic state. Their winning formula returned suburban women to the GOP fold by campaigning in favor of parental rights in education and against politically polarizing public school curricula.
These wins mean that the Democratic Party needs to appeal less to a thin, ideological niche and more to the average American. Schoen speculated that Democrats who hope to win in 2022 should “run much more as fiscal conservatives, much more inclusively, and much more on promoting a bipartisan agenda. And I would attack the Republicans for being extreme and the party of Trump.”
“But frankly, I don’t think it’s going to work. And even more, I don’t think they’re going to do it,” Schoen said.
Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ), as well as some Democrats in the ever-shrinking number of swing districts, have tried to appeal to voters on border security. Hassan visited the border, while Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI) called on Congress to pass bipartisan “comprehensive immigration reform.” Progressive Democrats warn that any step toward increased immigration reform and border security would alienate the party’s left-wing.
“I don’t know if it’ll hurt them with parts of the Democratic coalition who have nowhere else to go,” Schoen considered. “But bottom line: The broad mass of the American people — especially swing voters in Arizona and Nevada, where we have two key Senate races — want border security, and they want it now. And unless Biden and the Democrats appreciate that and act on it, the impact in November for the Democratic Party will be cataclysmic in the southwest and will hurt nationwide.”
Politicos already anticipate the 2022 midterms to end Democratic control of Congress. Pollsters have documented a significant enthusiasm gap in favor of Republican voters. President Joe Biden’s approval rating is ten points underwater, and Vice President Kamala Harris polls even lower. These numbers come amidst a news cycle punctuated by the highest inflation rate in 40 years, surging gas prices, one quarter of U.S. economic contraction, and an uncontrolled border.
When I asked Schoen the most important midterm elections to watch, he named “the Pennsylvania Senate race, the Nevada Senate race, the Arizona Senate race” — three of the four Senate races The Daily Wire highlighted in “These Are The Most Important Races To Watch In 2022.” “Those are three big races that have control of the Senate and, indeed, leadership in our country will depend on,” said Schoen.
In Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump has endorsed the former TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz in the Republican Senate primary. Some conservatives have questioned Oz’s conservative credentials based on his past comments on abortion, transgender ideology, and gun control. Oz told Fox News host Sean Hannity in April that he’s pro-life and pro-Second Amendment and that he opposes teaching gender ideology in schools. Polls before the endorsement showed Oz trailing former hedge fund executive David McCormick, who has been endorsed by former Senator Rick Santorum. This race may show us the strength of Donald Trump’s endorsement this cycle.
In Nevada, dueling polls show Republican Adam Laxalt and first-term incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto leading: one favors Laxalt by three points, while another puts the incumbent ahead by eight. Further, Arizona still looks like a toss-up, with Democrat Mark Kelly holding a four-point lead over a generic Republican challenger to retain the Senate seat once held by Barry Goldwater.
The power of Trump’s endorsement cannot be doubted based on Ohio’s fraught Republican Senate primary. “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance had once been mired in third place. A March poll showed Vance garnering only 11% support, compared to 20% for former state treasurer Josh Mandel (who was endorsed by Senator Ted Cruz) and 22% for businessman Mike Gibbons. However, a few things occurred. Firstly, during an Ohio Senate primary debate in March, Mandel and Gibbons appeared close to getting physical with one another, standing literally toe-to-toe. Mandel, an Iraq veteran, took exception to Gibbons questioning his private sector experience.
“Two tours in Iraq. Don’t tell me I haven’t worked,” a visibly upset Mandel told Gibbons.
“You don’t know squat,” Gibbons retorted.
Their dispute allowed Vance to position himself as the voice of reason.
Secondly, and most importantly, President Trump endorsed Vance on April 15, despite acknowledging that Vance had “said some bad s**t about me” in 2016. Vance took in $5 million in new donations in the following week and began an inexorable climb to the top of the polls. On election day, he bested Mandel by roughly eight points. In November, Vance will face Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Youngstown. Ryan’s recent spate of anti-China ads stirred controversy, with some in the identity politics wing of the party denouncing them as anti-Asian.
Perhaps the most significant development in the House is the money race in Wyoming. Liz Cheney holds the state’s only congressional seat, which was once held by her father. In the first quarter of this year, Cheney’s primary challenger, Harriet Hageman, raised a massive $1.3 million — most of it from inside the state. In March more than 100 House Republicans — including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and House Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, who took Cheney’s position last May — held a fundraiser, bringing in about $215,000 for Hageman. Liz Cheney has the support of Senator Mitt Romney.
Cheney also has $6.8 million in her war chest and raised $3 million last quarter. However, almost all of her funds have come from outside the state: Donors in six states contributed more to Cheney’s campaign than Wyoming voters. Massachusetts donated nearly as much to Cheney as Wyoming.
Hageman looks to hold a prohibitive lead in the polls, but Wyoming’s open primary system could allow Democrats to change their party registration on election day to vote against Hageman. Since Republicans make up 70% of registered Wyoming voters, even a full-scale Democratic defection might not be enough to save Cheney.
Schoen held out little hope that Democrats will retain control of the lower chamber this November. “I think the House is pretty much a foregone conclusion that the Republicans will win and will win, probably, with a pretty big majority,” Schoen inferred.
Though, he said those tempted to write off the Democrats as a viable party have exaggerated its peril. “Look, the Democratic Party, even in a reduced state, commands support from 35 to 40% of the electorate, no matter what happens — so reports of the party’s demise would be overstated. At the same time, any rational observer looking at where they stand would understand they are at a weakened and weaker position than they’ve been in any time since the 2020 election.” He also added that Republican division and infighting during the primary season could weaken the GOP to the point that its voters do not show up at the polls.
“I think the important thing to understand is, unless the Democrats have a different message from the one they’re using now, the results will be a foregone conclusion,” Schoen said.
“And the greatest enemy the Republican Party has as they go forward is the Republican Party.”
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.