Democrats Can Seize the ‘Pro-Life’ Label and Win the Culture War and the Election, or Get Crushed


Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/Getty

Democrats don’t have to walk into the midterms like sheep to the slaughter. They have the opportunity to win over voters, but only if they finally speak up, share their values, fight back against slanderous accusations, and contrast their popular proposals with the GOP’s regressive pro-death agenda.

Currently, the Democrats resemble a pathetic, neutered party that fights from its knees and brings a dull butter knife to a gunfight. Meanwhile, Republicans load up their bazookas.

With only a few months before the midterm elections, Democrats have not held public televised hearings over the Jan. 6 coup attempt—supported by numerous Republican lawmakers and officials. Unlike the GOP— successfully smeared the Squad (and by extension, Democrats) as woke up extremists—they have not called out actual GOP extremists, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene and Paul Gosar, as representing the base of the GOP.

And while Democrats have ignored the GOP’s pedophile smears, the QAnon conspiracy theory has become part and parcel of the GOP’s mainstream talking points, featured heavily during Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson’s recent confirmation hearings.

The GOP Was Hard to Embarrass. Then Came Madison Cawthorn.

Want to guess how this lateral strategy of not fighting back has worked out?

Democrats are suffering from abysmal poll numbers and stumbling towards a potentially disastrous 2022 midterms—with American voters not giving them love for passing a historic infrastructure bill, COVID relief, and presiding over massive job growth. President Joe Biden recently acknowledged that perceptions and messaging, not facts, determine reality and his political fate.

Fortunately, Michigan state Sen. Mallory McMorrow has figured it out. The young Democrat elected in 2018 provided her party with a successful messaging blueprint last week when she passionately responded to GOP State Sen. Lana Theis’ vile “grooming” accusations.

McMorrow wasn’t silent and she didn’t ignore the slanderous comments. Instead, she reframed the conversation and promoted a message of diversity and inclusion informed by her values ​​as a self-described white, straight, Christian mom. She spoke with authority, claiming an anthem that has been hijacked by Republicans to nurture white grievance, and instead used it to shame the GOP for their homophobia, fearmongering, and ugly identity conspiracy theorizing. (I only wish she would have called out the GOP’s support for Rep. Matt Gaetz, who is currently accused of sex-trafficking a minor, and Trump’s support for Roy Moore, who was credibly accused of molesting young girls.)

Regardless, her video went viral, she fired up the Democratic base, and she raised an astronomical sum of a quarter-million dollars in less than a day. Even President Biden picked up the phone to thank her.

Following in her footsteps, Sen. Elizabeth Warren finally decided to go on offense. The Massachusetts senator used the weekend cable news programs to label House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy a “liar and a traitor” after incriminating phone conversations revealed he initially advocated for Trump to resign after his bloody, failed coup attempt. Unfortunately, she was the only one.

Tucker Carlson did more to attack McCarthy this week than did leading Democrats, calling him, ironically, “a puppet of the Democratic Party.” Imagine if the shoe were on the other foot—what would Republicans have done? We already saw it in the theatrical Benghazi hearings, which McCarthy himself admitted in 2015 were simply meant to harm Hillary Clinton ahead of the 2016 elections.

Democrats aren’t doing, I’m going to humbly offer it few messages that Democrats can use a majority that will resonate with the Americans, while also revealing the GOP as an extremist party that is hostile to the values, rights, and freedoms of the majority.

An ABC News poll from January revealed that 72 percent of Americans, a sizable majority, believe that the violent insurrectionists of Jan. 6 were “threatening democracy.” This should be manna from heaven for Democrats, as each new day brings forth damning text messages that reveal most of the GOP ecosystem was complicit in the failed coup.

Historically, Democrats succumb to GOP attacks that paint them as soft on national security and crime. Instead of taking the bait this time, Democrats can proactively message as the party of patriots who are fighting for democracy and national security. Every single day leading up to the elections, they have to call out the GOP, and its elected officials, as the party of violent insurrectionists.

Instead of shying away from the culture wars (another third rail for timid Democrats), they need to fully dive in this time. For example, the GOP’s book bans across the nation reveal that they are the ultimate proponents of “cancel culture” who are against free speech. Democrats need to remind the majority that, unlike Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Soviet Union, we don’t ban books that we don’t like in America. Democrats must tell people they stand with the majority, the more than 80 percent of Americans, who are against book bans. Democrats should also telegraph to the public that they agree with a large majority of Americans who are fine with students learning about racism and our country’s history in school. Sixty-eight percent of people believe teaching students about racism in America makes students understand what others have gone through. Also, 58 percent of people still believe racism is a major problem today, and 71 percent believe it was a major problem in America’s past.

Democrats must also side with the majority that approves of marriage equality and supports LGBTQ+ rights. They can simply copy and paste a page from Rep. McMorrow’s speech, where she created a big tent that welcomes and includes LGBTQ+ students, while maintaining her identity as a straight, Christian woman. She’s in line with a majority of Americans, according to an ABC News poll that revealed 62 percent of Americans opposed Florida’s hateful “Don’t Say Gay” bill when they were asked if they supported “legislation that would prohibit classroom lessons about sexual orientation or gender identity in elementary school.”

It’s also time for Democrats to finally take back the “pro-life” badge from Republicans and confront them with their support of assault rifles in light this week’s sobering and tragic statistic leading that revealed that the number one cause of death for children and teens is gun violence. According to a YouGov poll, 51 percent of Americans support banning semi-automatic weapons. With the right messaging, that number will only inch upwards. Democrats should openly ask: “Why are Republicans opposed to books by Black authors but OK with semi-automatic rifles? Why are vaccines and books by Black authors more dangerous to Republicans than bullets? Why are Republicans fine with normalizing shooting drills in schools but not vaccinations?”

When it comes to women’s rights, according to a CNN poll nearly 70 percent of Americans do not want the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, which now seems all but inevitable. And if Roe were overturned, the majority want their state that makes laws more, not less, legal towards abortion. Democrats should simply point out Florida’s new law which makes abortion illegal after 15 weeks—and has zero exceptions for rape or incest. Democrats must ask the public: “Do Americans want to be ruled by the GOP that denies women a right to their own bodies and choices? Do Americans want to go back fifty years or do they want to move forward towards progress and equal rights?”

It’s Good to Be a White Refugee

Taking it a step further, Democrats should attack the GOP and ask how come the party of “family values” has done nothing to support and advance paid parental leave, the child tax credit, subsidized child care, or strengthen Obamacare—which they want to eliminate even though it’s supported by a majority of Americans? It seems Republicans only care about the baby if it’s in the womb, but once it’s out, the baby and its parents have to pull themselves up from their bootstraps.

Finally, Democrats should constantly call out the GOP’s most unpopular policies. In a 2021 Data for Progress poll, likely voters loathed the GOP’s tax cuts for the wealthy, which they disapproved of by a 58 percentage point margin. By a 55-point margin, a large majority also rejected the GOP’s climate change denialism and continued efforts to block climate change legislation.

“Unlike Republicans, who passed an unpopular $1.9 trillion tax cut for the rich, we’re for the rich paying their fair share of taxes,” Democrats should say in speeches across the nation. President Biden should add, “I’m willing to relieve a $1.6 trillion student loan debt that will uplift and help millions of Americans with a stroke of my pen” citing majority support for canceling at least some student loan debt.

With regards to climate change, Democrats should keep reminding Americans that Trump (and many Republicans) think climate change is a “hoax.” Biden can really flex on his proposed solutions and say, “Like most of you, I acknowledge that climate change exists and is a massive threat to our existence. Unlike Republicans, however, I actually have solutions. And, according to the latest polls, a majority of you broadly support my six key proposals to transition the US to renewable sources of energy.”

The Democrats and President Biden have a winning political platform with solutions that are accepted and welcomed by a majority of this country.

However, if they’re unwilling to share them and fight back against the GOP’s disinformation, they have only themselves to blame for people’s ignorance. Let’s hope they learn and message accordingly before the midterms and 2024 election.

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