Dems Had the Momentum. It's Seemingly Vanished

David Brooks takes a pre-midterms look at why
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2022 11:53 AM CDT
GOP's Recent Boost May Boil Down to 'Clearer Narrative'
Mehmet Oz, a Republican candidate for US Senate in Pennsylvania, takes part in an event in Philadelphia on Aug. 17.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Over the summer, Democrats seemed poised to ride a wave of momentum into the midterms, thanks to falling gas prices, a public outcry on gun safety after the mass shooting in Uvalde, and the overturning of Roe v. Wade. But "the momentum didn't survive the fall," writes David Brooks in his latest op-ed for the New York Times. He points out "Republicans are surging" in the last few weeks before the midterms and tries to figure out why. First, Brooks posits a "minimalist" point of view that's actually a pretty standard one—i.e., the sitting president's party traditionally suffers losses in the midterms, and so, in combination with current inflation woes, the GOP making gains in the polls shouldn't come as any real surprise.

But Brooks also has a "more medium to maximalist" viewpoint: that Democrats have major cracks in their political strategy that have been exposed. Specifically, Brooks notes that voters don't seem to be responding to Democrats' economic policies, or their approach on crime; Democrats can't seem to win back Hispanic voters they've lost in recent years; and warnings of the double menaces of fascism and the Jan. 6 attack don't appear to be striking much of a chord. Or it could be something much simpler, Brooks notes. "The Republicans may just have a clearer narrative," one that tells a tale, accurate or not, of "common-sense Americans ... being assaulted by elite progressives." And that narrative, Brooks posits, "seems to be working." (Read his piece in full here.)

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