Republican candidates running for Congress in 2022 will be moving into a target-rich environment. The party is united, the rank and file are eager for battle, and the Democrats have graciously given the GOP a wealth of campaign-winning issues to run on.
One Republican super PAC — the Congressional Leadership Fund — is testing three specific war-winning strategies in swing districts this week that will highlight the incompetence, the stupidity, and the radicalism of the Democratic Party. They are running ads targeting three vulnerable Democratic House members on three issues of great importance to all Americans: inflation, violent crime, and the teaching of critical race theory in schools.
The first ad will target Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-Fla.) on rising prices. Another ad yokes Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) to crime in Atlanta, and a final one warns that Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Mich.) is bankrolled by unions that are “indoctrinating kids by putting extreme politics in the classroom.”
The Stevens spot offers a window into how the GOP will try to weaponize critical race theory, a topic that’s both complex and not well-known outside of academia. Broadly speaking, it’s a legal and academic concept that racism is embedded in American institutions thanks to our long history of slavery and Jim Crow laws. But recently conservatives have turned it into a catch-all buzzword, arguing that it teaches children that the country is racist.
Democrats know that their soft underbelly is exposed to crime given the “reforms” in big cities instituted by radical prosecutors. And it’s hard to avoid being blamed for rising inflation when the leader of their party demands Congress spend trillions of dollars we don’t have. They also know their vulnerability on critical race theory, which will be finessed by the GOP into an indictment of teachers’ unions.
Republicans will be ploughing fertile ground.
New polling from the American Action Network, a nonprofit affiliated with CLF, found that 86 percent of voters in 51 2020 battleground districts were worried about inflation.
In Florida, the CLF spot warns Murphy helped pass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “socialist spending plan” that “prints trillions we don’t have” and that “the worst is yet to come.” In Atlanta, the ad says Bourdeaux “marched with radicals to defund police” and accuses Democrats of targeting law enforcement.
“The country is now experiencing daily the pain of damaging left-wing policies that are leading to soaring crime in communities and skyrocketing costs of living for nearly all Americans,” CLF President Dan Conston said.
It will be hard for the Democrats to hide inflation from the voters for long. The left will try to explain inflation as something other than massively excessive government spending. They will almost certainly try to blame Donald Trump. They can’t hide it for long. When gas and food prices begin to skyrocket, people will know exactly whom to blame.
The crime problem is more effective in the suburbs, where people worry about spillover from the Democratic-run big cities. But it isn’t a stretch for Americans living in less-populated regions of the country to see the danger and vote accordingly.
The GOP doesn’t quite yet know how to exploit the anger against the teaching of critical race theory. First, they have to define the issue since most Americans know only a little about it. But once it’s properly identified, parents are going to wonder why Democrats want to teach their kids that they are “oppressors.”
All the signs point to a big Republican election year in 2022. And they have made a good start in framing the issues in a positive light for the voters.