For Democrats, the signs of the times appear to be pointing downward, and the American media also appears to be tottering on the abyss.
“Just 7% of Americans have ‘a great deal’ of trust and confidence in the media” Gallup reported recently, “and 27% have a fair amount… Meanwhile, 28% of U.S. adults say they do not have very much confidence and 38% have none at all in newspapers, TV and radio. Notably, this is the first time that the percentage of Americans with no trust at all in the media is higher than the percentage with a great deal or a fair amount combined.”
Citing “The Economist / YouGov poll on Wednesday,” Newsweek reports, “Biden's net approval fell 14 points to 39 percent. Earlier, Biden had an unusually high approval rating from ‘less committed Democrats’ YouGov says. The president ended the week with a 45 percent approval rating. Independents, however, seem to be giving Biden the cold shoulder as his approval fell a whopping 18 percent in the past week.”
New York Times columnist David Brooks, whose head does not instantly burst into flame when struck by a progressive or far-right hammer, provides some sobering statistics in a recent column, “Why the Republicans are surging in the polls.”
The news wrung out of telling statistics, he notes, “…is not good for team blue. In the latest New York Times/Siena College poll, 49% of likely voters said they planned to vote for a Republican for Congress, and 45% said they planned to vote for a Democrat. Democrats held a 1-point lead last month.”
Pushing abortion rights as a central pillar of Democrat campaigns has been a flop. “Over the past month, the gender gap, which used to favor Democrats, has evaporated. In September, women who identified as independent voters favored Democrats by 14 percentage points. Now, they favor Republicans by 18 points.”
An AP-NORIC poll shows voters trusting Republicans rather than Democrats to do “a better job handling the economy, by 39% to 29%... As the Times’ Jim Tankersley has reported, Democratic candidates in competitive Senate races are barely talking about the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which included direct payments to citizens.”
Brooks continues to lay on the bad news with a trowel: “Democrats have a crime problem… Democrats have not won back Hispanics. In 2016, Donald Trump won 28% of the Hispanic vote. In 2020, it was up to 38%. This year, as William A. Galston noted in The Wall Street Journal, recent surveys suggest that Republicans will once again win about 34% to 38% of the Hispanic vote. In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis is leading Democrat Charlie Crist by 16 points among Hispanics likely to vote… The Jan. 6 committee and the warnings about MAGA fascism didn’t change minds.” Brooksallows that the committee’s work has been morally and legally important. “But Trump’s favorability rating is pretty much where it was at the committee’s first public hearing. In the Times poll, Trump is roughly tied with Biden in a theoretical 2024 rematch. According to Politico, less than 2% of broadcast TV spending in House races has been devoted to Jan. 6 ads.”
A persistent critic of Trump – “The Trumpified GOP deserves to be a marginalized and disgraced force in American life “– Brooks notes that “The Republicans may just have a clearer narrative… GOP candidates are telling a very clear class/culture/status war narrative in which common-sense Americans are being assaulted by elite progressives who let the homeless take over the streets, teach Sex-Ed to 5-year-olds, manufacture fake news, run woke corporations, open the border, and refuse to do anything about fentanyl deaths and the sorts of things that affect regular people.”
The art of political campaigning is the art of telling a majority of people what they already know, and the data flourished by Brooks suggests that Americans generally are not amenable to solutions that do not solve problems or politicians who, slathering honeyed words on painful problems, appear to believe that words themselves, produced by the cartload in Washington DC, are, like voodoo ceremonies, capable of changing the realities that threaten us.
This is not rational politics. It is the homeopathic magic practiced by primitive tribes in deepest, darkest Washington D.C., the home of high taxes, economic experts, improvident spending and, so far, successful progressive Democrat policies.
Don Pesci is a political columnist of long standing, about 40 years, who has written for various state newspapers, among them The Journal Inquirer, the Waterbury Republican American, the New London Day, the Litchfield County Times, the Torrington Register Citizen and other Register Citizen papers. He maintains a blog, among the oldest of its kind in Connecticut, which serves as a repository and archive, for his columns; there are approximately 3,000 entrees in Connecticut Commentary: Red Notes From A Blue State, virtually all of them political columns stretching back to 2004. He also appears once a week Wednesdays on 1080 WTIC Newstalk radio with Will Marotti.