Democrats Stab into the Heart of the Republican Party
Of all the aggravating and frustrating aspects of the 2022 election, nothing was more maddening than watching woke Democrats steal a core issue that Republicans owned for as long as I can remember. The notion that Republicans are the party of patriotism is as fundamental as the perception, albeit misguided, that Democrats are the party of racial equality.
Imagine if Republicans could somehow tarnish or raise serious doubt about the Democrat’s commitment to racial justice. Losing a fundamental tenant that defines the party would prove catastrophic for woke candidates. Yet, incredibly, that is exactly what happened to Republicans in the 2022 midterm election.
For numerous independents and moderates, the Republican party is no longer synonymous with patriotism, and that is tragic.
Republican History as the Party of Patriots
Patriotism has been crucial to the success of the modern Republican Party ever since Ronald Reagan raised the issue in campaigns against Jimmy Carter, and subsequently, Walter Mondale. Reagan was savvy enough to avoid openly questioning his opponent’s patriotism, but the inferences were obvious. Every time he spoke about the decline of our military or our foreign policy failures, the charge of disloyalty to America hung in the air.
This approach was so successful, George H.W. Bush used it in his campaign as well. Can anyone who lived through the 1980s forget the comical scene of Michael Dukakis riding in a tank with an oversized helmet that made him look like a buffoon? Why did the usually stoic Dukakis agree to such an embarrassing photo op? Simply put, the public had the impression he was not pro-military or pro-America, which forced Dukakis into taking an action that ultimately sealed his fate as a candidate.
Who can forget John Kerry, who wanted to preempt the patriotism issue, walking on stage to accept his party’s nomination and proclaiming while saluting, “I’m John Kerry, and I’m reporting for duty!”?
Finally, there was Hillary Clinton, who, in 2003, proclaimed in a shrill, screeching voice that became an audio meme, “I’m sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic.”
Republicans and patriotism were synonymous for one simple reason: Republicans are indeed more patriotic than Democrats. In fact, even Democrats from the 1980s through the early 2000s were far more patriotic than today’s woke, Marxist progressives.
The best part about patriotism as a campaign issue is that it’s easy to cut through the usual smoke and mirrors obfuscation Democrats rely on. If you want to expose a woke Democrat’s disloyalty to our country, ask these two questions, and insist on a yes or no answer.
Do you love the United States of America?
Would you die to preserve the Constitution?
See, that’s why they’ve struggled mightily with an image of being anti-American. Even when you make it a yes or no question, they will insist on disclaimers, and true Americans see right through the deceit to their core motivation, which is to change our country into an unrecognizable authoritarian state where dissent is not tolerated.
Yet, with its rich history of defending the Constitution and the American way of life, Republicans somehow squandered the one issue I thought they could never lose. In the 2022 election, the Democrats became the party most identified as defending our democracy.
Superior strategy and Execution
For many Republican candidates, modern American elections have become the equivalent of lining up against Conrad Dobler, generally regarded as the dirtiest player in NFL history. Dobler didn’t just bend the rules, he ignored them completely. Whether it was leg-whipping, eye-gouging, gut-punching, head-slapping or finger-biting, Dobler didn’t care that his success was grounded in cheating and rigging the game. He simply wanted to win.
Just like woke Democrats.
Heading into 2022 and facing an avalanche of voter anger related to the economy, Democrats staked their chances on two major themes: Republicans were going to take away the right to get an abortion, and right-wing “extremists” were a threat to our democracy.
Like you, I couldn’t believe our good fortune. While the timing of the Supreme Court abortion decision was unfortunate, the impact paled in comparison to the stab with a sharp object ordinary Americans felt every time they filled their gas tank or bought a carton of eggs. So, Democrat election success, which really meant minimizing their losses in the House and holding the Senate, came down to winning the patriotism issue.
“No way,” I said to myself. Surely, an overwhelming majority of Americans would laugh at the notion of a party centered around a Marxist authoritarian philosophy casting their opponents, who have a rich history of defending the constitution, as a “threat to our democracy.”
And yet, incredibly, it worked. Ah, the irony…
Throughout the entire election cycle, the phrase was endlessly repeated, complimented by lavish spending on ads that always ended with “(Insert name) is just too extreme for (insert state name).” Naturally, media propagandists amplified the lie, and the farcical January 6th committee served up more headlines for the nightly news to bloviate with fake outrage.
In essence, Republicans focused on real-world suffering while Democrats stoked false fears of revolt. Ordinary people actually listened and embraced the fear mongering, and for the first time I can remember, Republicans lost the title of Defenders of our Democracy.
Deep-rooted Perceptions can persist for Decades
The Republican brain trust better address this “threat to democracy” assault before it takes deep root. It’s important to remember that philosophical fear is primal and always supersedes disgust over policy. Democrats consider the 2022 midterms a success, and rightfully so. They literally had nothing substantive to run on and faced an impossible task in defending Slow Joe Biden. Yet, with a false narrative, they shook the Republican Party to its core, and one wonders if the party brass even understands why they lost.
Joe Biden’s policy failures pale in comparison to concerns about a violent insurrection, even if it’s fake and ginned up. If nothing is done to change the perception that Republicans want to overthrow the government, I fear more pain in 2024. Perhaps it is time to call out the Democrats and have a very public debate about which party actually threatens our democracy. I would welcome that discussion and the opportunity to expose these radical totalitarians for exactly who they are.