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Opinion

Budowsky: How Dems can win an epic midterm election

On Nov. 8, 2022, the American people will make a decision that will change the course of history, send shock waves across the globe, and be written about by historians a century from now. It may literally be the most important midterm election in a century. Here’s why:

Today democracy is fighting back fiercely against attacks by foreign dictators abroad and Republican partisans at home who still try to reverse the 2020 election, elect state Republicans who would corrupt the 2024 election, and practice aggressive voter suppression reminiscent of the dark days of segregation.

Many of our citizens are deeply concerned about the dangers to their economic lives. They face the risks of inflation and recession. They widely distrust politicians in BOTH parties.

Americans are enormously frustrated by the inability of official Washington to transcend gridlock, act to protect them, and lift their lives and those of their family, community and country. They are appalled by a packed Supreme Court essentially employing party-line votes to undermine their rights, while extremist Republicans states try to force-feed far-right views while attacking the right to vote.

Democrats need to powerfully address their concerns with a Contract for America that includes specific pledges to improve their economic lives, health care, environment, safety from crime and right to vote. To defend against threats to our democracy, they should mobilize the largest voter registration in history, propel massive small donor fundraising and inspire a rousing defense for democracy with large donations from the wealthiest believers in the cause.

It is often suggested, in my view incorrectly, that because President Biden’s favorable numbers are low, Democrats are doomed to defeat in the midterms. This results from a misunderstanding of the political situation today.

If we review the RealClearPolitics 10 most recent 2022 generic congressional vote polls as of yesterday morning, Democrats were leading in five, Republicans in four, and the other was tied.

How can this be? If we review the RealClearPolitics favorable ratings of political leaders, as of yesterday morning, Biden’s rating was 43.6 percent, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was much lower, at 28 percent, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was even lower, at 26.3 percent!

Voters are not dissatisfied with Biden, they are dissatisfied with ALL leaders of BOTH parties in Washington, with Biden’s approval significantly higher than McCarthy’s or McConnell’s!

Given this season of discontent in our democracy, with more than a 90 percent probability, on the morning of Nov. 9, the nation and world will wake up to one of two potential midterm outcomes.

The first possibility is that Republicans gain control of the House, the Senate or both. This result would be armageddon for the Biden presidency. The legislative branch would be unable to pass any major proposal from President Biden or Democrats in Congress. Congressional Republicans would be unable to enact any legislation without President Biden’s signature.

In this scenario, a Republican House or Senate would degenerate into little more than permanent partisan Republican investigations of Democrats and partisan Republican gridlock in Washington — provoking widespread anger and rage from a majority of Americans, while Republicans compete with each other to be more extreme, in the party of Trump, not Lincoln.

The second possibility, which is less likely than I wish but more likely than most pundits believe, is that Democrats retain control of the Senate and House, and gain one or two Senate seats.

In this scenario, Biden and Democrats would be able to enact a substantial program of economic, health care, crime, climate change and voting rights legislation, which a majority of Americans would applaud.

Let’s be clear, blunt and honest. Biden and Democrats do not control a 50-50 Senate in which one or two Democratic senators alone can overrule the Democratic president, 48 Democratic senators, and all Democratic House members before they host fundraisers with grateful Republican donors and special interests.

With only one or two more Democratic senators, Democrats and democracy would flourish!

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the House of Representatives.

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