In the Face of Disastrous Performance, Democrats’ Only Answer is to Attack Donald Trump

BALTIMORE, MD - JULY 19: A voter casts their ballot at a polling place at The League for People with Disabilities during the midterm primary election on July 19, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. Voters will choose candidates during the primary for governor and seats in the House of Representatives in the upcoming November election. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)
A voter casts their ballot at a polling place at The League for People with Disabilities during the midterm primary election on July 19, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

By Kenin M. Spivak, Guest Commentary October 13, 2022
(Views expressed by guest commentators may not reflect the views of OAN or its affiliates.)


Though nearly every traditional metric points to a GOP landslide, it’s up to Republicans and centrists to remain focused on what matters

If this was a year like any other, Republicans would take the House in a landslide and regain control of the Senate. That might still happen, but some wobbly polls and Leader Mitch McConnell’s equivocations create room for doubt. If the Republicans do not take control of both houses, it will be because of stronger Democrat turn-out following the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, and Republicans and centrists who fall prey to the administration’s attacks on Donald Trump. The Democrats are working both as if their political future depends on it. And it does.

To stop the progressive agenda, it is up to those who oppose it – the substantial majority of voters – to vote the issues, and not personalities. The sole reason for the January 6 Committee, including its unprecedented issuance of a subpoena to Donald Trump just three weeks before the election, is to divert voters from the Democrats’ disastrous performance and utter disregard for the Constitution and law. From rampant inflation and crime, nearly open borders, woke prioritization of race and LGBTQ+, to censorship, federalizing election law, and rampant spending, the Democrats are on the wrong side of history and the electorate.

In 17 of 19 midterm elections since the end of World War II the president’s party lost seats in the House, with an average loss of 27 seats. The pattern in Senate is similar, though the president’s party has gained seats in the Senate six times since 1962. To the extent midterms are a referendum on the president’s performance or the party in control, this year should be true to form.

With some success, the Democrats are, instead, making the midterms a referendum on a former president, and a mischaracterized Supreme Court decision. They have no choice, because every poll shows that voters disapprove of President Biden’s job performance and prefer Republicans on just about every important issue.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll last month, just 40 percent approved of Biden’s performance, and 52 percent disapproved, including 41 percent who “strongly” disapproved. On the economy, Biden received 36 percent approval, compared to 57 percent disapproval. In a Fox News poll last month, only 38 percent of registered voters agreed the Biden administration had been “competent and effective in managing government,” whereas 52% disagreed. At least a majority of registered voters disapproved of Biden’s job performance on climate change, energy policy, foreign policy, the economy, immigration and inflation. In a Quinnipiac poll published on August 31, registered voters gave Biden 41% approval and 53 percent disapproval; 67 percent do not want Biden to run for president in 2024, including 47 percent of Democrats. The Real Clear Politics average of 10 recent polls shows 43.3 percent approval, and 53.3 percent disapproval for Biden’s performance.

According to the Washington Post-ABC poll, likely voters trust Republicans to do a better job on the economy, crime, and combatting inflation, and Democrats to do a better job on abortion, and climate change. Results were within the margin of error for education and, surprisingly, immigration, though historically, Democrats led by 10 to 15 percent for education and five to 10 percent for immigration. A statistical tie on these issues repudiates Democrats’ embrace of progressive ideologies.

The Fox News poll found that voters’ top four issues are inflation/higher prices (59 percent), future of U.S. Democracy (50 percent), abortion policy (45 percent), and higher crime rates (43 percent. Voters who are extremely concerned about inflation and crime prefer Republican House candidates by 12 to 17 percent. Those extremely concerned about abortion favor Democrat candidates by 29 percent, and those extremely concerned about the future of democracy favor Democratic candidates by seven percent.

Last month, an NBC News Hart Research Associates poll found at least 50 percent disapproval for Biden’s handling of foreign policy, the economy, border security and immigration, and the cost of living.

In the FiveThirtyEight generic ballot, a Republican lead exceeding two percent from February through July evaporated after the Dobbs decision, with Democrats up nine-tenths of a point as of October 9. The Fox poll shows a 44% to 41% edge for Democrat candidates among registered voters. The Real Clear Politics average of recent polls shows Republicans ahead of the Democrats, by 46.1 percent to 45.2 percent. And, in the Washington Post-ABC poll, respondents preferred a Republican controlled Congress by a margin of 48 to 45 percent, “to act as a check on Biden;” nonetheless, by a narrow margin, respondents intend to vote for Democrat candidates.

Anything under a three point Democrat advantage on the generic ballot usually augers well for Republicans because of the history of lopsided Democrat victories in Blue states and narrower Republican victories elsewhere; and that’s before polling bias. A recent Pew Research Center analysis of 2016 and 2020 polling concedes that election polls are not “sufficiently” reliable.

Consistent with other analysts, Fox News sees the Senate as too close to call. Fox, however, projects the GOP will flip control of the House, with at least 217 solid seats, before considering 12 toss-up states. FiveThirtyEight projects the GOP has a 69 percent likelihood of taking control of the House, and The Economist a 67 percent probability. Both characterized that edge has merely “slight.”

With Biden so far under water, and Republicans leading on most issues, the mid-terms should see strong Republican gains. But Dobbs has energized what was a lethargic and disengaged Democrat base. More strategically, from the January 6 hearings and the raid on Mar-a-Lago, to Trump’s active endorsement schedule and undisguised interest in running in 2024, the Democrats have turned what should be a referendum on a sitting president into a referendum on a former president.

Democrats and the media succeeded in painting Dobbs as a decision that limits abortion rights, rather than a decision that restores faithful interpretation of the Constitution, and states’ rights. It hasn’t helped that Lindsey Graham blew up the widely-held goal to return abortion to the states by introducing federal legislation.

A recent Fox News poll shows 60 percent disapproval for overturning Roe v. Wade. A Wall Street Journal poll shows support for legalizing abortion has increased in the wake of the Dobbs decision, with 60 percent of voters supporting abortion in “all or most cases” up from 55 percent in March. More than half of voters said the ruling made them more motivated to vote in the midterm elections.

More damming, no matter how low Biden’s approval rating, Trump derangement syndrome affects many independents who support Republican policies (including Trump’s accomplishments), and even some Republicans. True, of 240 candidates Trump endorsed in this year’s primaries, 92 percent won. By contrast, Fox News’ September poll found that 65 percent of registered voters believe it is wrong that Trump took government documents to Mar-a-Lago, including 38 percent of those who voted for him. In the August Quinnipiac poll of registered voters, half thought Trump should be prosecuted for his handling of classified documents. In most polls, disapproval of Trump and Biden are at comparable levels, both exceeding 50%.

If the Democrats turn out in larger numbers, or GOP candidates lose just a few percentage points because voters put intemperate tweets they dislike on par with the Administration’s utter disregard for the Constitution, law, our norms, economy, psyche, and prospects, then the Republicans easily will fail to take control of the Senate, and possibly the House. As any voter on the fence because of misgivings about Trump considers what to do this year, that voter must think very carefully about what the progressives can destroy with two more years of unbridled power, unconstrained by the Constitution, law or American values.

Kenin M. Spivak is founder and chairman of SMI Group LLC, an international consulting firm and investment bank. He is the author of fiction and non-fiction books and has served as a director and C-suite officer of public and private companies. Spivak has written for National Review, The American Mind, the National Association of Scholars, and Huffington Post. He was chairman of the Editorial Board of the Knowledge Exchange Business Encyclopedia, and a long-time director of the RAND Corporation Center for Corporate Ethics and Governance. He received his A.B., M.B.A., and J.D. from Columbia University

 (Views expressed by guest commentators may not reflect the views of OAN or its affiliates.)

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