Time for another top Democrat to suggest that the midterms might not be legitimate

The president, the House majority whip, and now the House majority leader are on record preemptively questioning the fairness of the next election if the GOP’s modest election reform laws in swing states aren’t overturned.

When will Pelosi and Chuck Schumer make it a clean sweep of Democratic leaders who agree with Trump that American elections can’t be trusted?

Dems have painted themselves into a corner here after months of nonsense about how cutting a few days from early voting is the “new Jim Crow.”

What will they say the morning after Election Day if the expected bloodbath happens? If they go the Stacey Abrams route and allege that the elections were unfair, they’ve handed the GOP a “both sides” defense in 2024 if Trump loses and cries fraud again. If they hedge against that by conceding that the elections were fair, they’ll reveal their “new Jim Crow” shtick to have been hollow rhetoric which they never truly believed. An election can’t be fair if it’s conducted under Jim Crow rules, after all.

As Jen Psaki did for Biden, Hoyer’s spokesman tried to clean up his soundbite after the fact. She ran into the same problem Psaki did, trying to have it both ways:

“Leader Hoyer shares President Biden’s concern that Republican attempts to methodically exclude millions of voters are deeply alarming, and raise serious questions that people who want to make their voice heard won’t be able to participate,” Mulkerrin said.

Leader Hoyer does not believe the 2022 election will be illegitimate, nor would he claim ballots ought to be thrown out if a Democrat loses – simply that millions of Americans have been systematically disenfranchised from our democracy by GOP election suppression legislation, and that we ought to take immediate steps to stop it by passing urgently needed measures to protect the right to vote.”

You can’t call an election “legitimate” if you believe millions of people have been “systematically disenfranchised” by Republican voting laws. Does not compute. Hoyer and his party will have to choose between those two narratives this fall. And they’ve ensured that there’ll be political pain no matter what choice they make, a chronic problem with a party as bad at politics as Democrats are.

The ugly truth for them about a red wave will be that it was their own voters’ disaffection with Biden that drove it, not the new rules in states like Texas and Georgia. Looking at this year’s Senate map, Josh Kraushaar plausibly predicts that the best-case scenario for Dems in the Senate absent a sea change in American politics before November will be holding onto their 50-seat majority without adding a seat. That would be grim for the party if so since the Senate map strongly favors the GOP in 2024, all but ensuring a Republican takeover in two years. And also ensuring that there’ll be a lot of “illegitimate” defeats to come for the left over the rest of this decade:

The Democrat with the clearest view of his own party’s foibles is Ruy Teixeira, who famously co-wrote the book “The Emerging Democratic Majority” 20 years ago. Twenty years later, why hasn’t a durable Democratic majority emerged? Because, Teixeira recently told the NYT, he underestimated the degree to which the preferences of the liberal “professional class” would come to dominate the party, alienating working-class voters of every race. Your must-read of the day:

Go back to the 2020 Democratic primaries. It was remarkable the extent to which things that were alienating to the average voter, particularly your average working-class voter, were gaily promulgated, with no apparent second thoughts about how it might appear to people outside the bubble. Things like open borders; basically, let’s decriminalize the border. Anybody who knows anything about immigration and public opinion in the United States realizes that will not play well…

You had a lot of stuff about mass incarceration, but almost nothing about crime. Democrats now fit this profile of being relatively soft on crime, more interested in not putting people in jail than in putting them in jail when it’s appropriate. That’s really wound up hurting them.

In the aftermath of the George Floyd murder, there was a distinct, almost inflection point in the intensity of this professional-class hegemony on race, to the point where it became completely routine for people in and around the party to talk about white supremacy, systemic racism, how America has always been a benighted country and still is, we haven’t made any progress, everybody who is white has work to do in terms of discarding their racism.

“Do they really believe that the Black voters who formed the base of the Democratic Party think like Ibram X. Kendi, or the leaders of BLM? Are they crazy?” Teixeira wondered about the woke ideology favored by well-educated elite liberals. That’s where the midterm autopsy will start, not with the Georgia GOP trimming voting rules at the edges.

In lieu of an exit question, read Teixeira’s longer diagnosis of the Democrats’ electoral liabilities at his site, “The Liberal Patriot.” He’s on the money.