NBC News: Democrats are headed for a shellacking in November

NBC News is running it’s version of the 2022 dashboard meter which is meant to show the likelihood of certain outcomes in the upcoming midterm elections. As you can see, two of the three meters are currently pointing toward a shellacking for Democrats.

In 1998 and 2002, the party controlling the White House gained House seats — five in 1998, and eight in 2002. What did the numbers in our NBC News poll show right before those elections? Well, a majority or a plurality of respondents said the country was headed in the right direction; Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had approval ratings north of 60 percent; and their parties enjoyed narrow leads on the generic ballot.

Now let us show you what a shellacking looks like: In 1994, 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 — when the president’s party suffered big losses — overwhelming majorities said the country was headed on the wrong track before the election; each president’s job rating was below 50 percent; and the president’s party trailed on the generic ballot.

So with less than a year until the November midterms, what did the latest NBC News poll tell us? It was pointing more towards the shellacking territory. Our October 2021 NBC News poll showed 71 percent of Americans (!!!) saying the country is headed in the wrong direction; President Biden’s job rating was at 42 percent; and the silver lining for Democrats is that they enjoyed a narrow lead on the generic ballot.

The story includes the wrong-track numbers for election since 1994 and the highest it has ever been is 65% back in 2014. So the fact that it was at 71% a few months ago suggests there could be an epic red wave sweeping through Congress this year.

There are other signs that Democrats know what is coming. There are currently 26 Democrats who have announced they won’t run for re-election this year, though several of them are running for other offices. The party is also seeing some recruiting problems. In Florida, with just 7 months to go before the Democratic primary, Democrats haven’t found anyone to contest two seats held by GOP incumbents.

Evidence is piling up that Democrats in Florida have no clear bench of candidates willing to challenge Republican incumbents in South Florida, in what’s expected to be a daunting and expensive 2022 cycle for their party…

“A lot of them are thinking, 2022, how is that going to look in a national environment, and is it better to hold off for another cycle?” Isbell said.

Florida’s Lt. Governor had something to say about why Democrats are struggling over the weekend:

Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez took aim at President Joe Biden on Sunday, claiming his ‘disastrous’ policies are driving Hispanic voters out of the Democratic Party

Nuñez, the first Hispanic woman to be elected the Sunshine State’s lieutenant governor, said they believe Republicans will give them ‘freedom that will provide them opportunities for their families.’

Whether you agree with her assessment or not, there’s no doubt that Hispanic voters are another big worry on Democrats’ minds. The NY Times has an opinion piece about that today.

As 2022 begins, the party so far has no visible, convincingly powerful plan to win over the voters many rank and file Democrats believe are key to November’s midterm elections, the 2024 presidential race and perhaps the future of the Democratic Party…

…one of the main findings of the post-mortem report on the 2020 election published by Equis Research was that Donald Trump made inroads with Latino voters because he and Republican governors kept the economy open during the pandemic, cut taxes, distributed stimulus checks, secured the border and expedited vaccine development.

The report dispelled theories that Latinos supported Mr. Trump because they opposed the term Latinx and defunding the police, or because they aspire to whiteness. The problem with these assumptions is that they caricatured Latinos as motivated primarily by culture wars instead of sincerely held policy beliefs.

Or, rather, the term Latinx, policing and whiteness were issues with underlying policy implications that too often got framed as divisive culture wars, and in ways that minimized the real policy disagreements they highlighted for Latinos.

Democrats are worried that they’ll see even more of a slip in support from Hispanic and, to a lesser degree, Asian voters this year. At the moment, they don’t have much of a coherent response. The party seems to have just two goals at this point, 1) try to get something passed so they can claim credit for it and 2) convince their base and the media that a loss for Democrats means the end of democracy. The first of those isn’t going well and the second may represent the genuine feeling of panic many Democrats have right now but it’s not a winning message. As I pointed out a couple weeks ago, the fact that Democrats are losing elections (or seem poised to lose them) isn’t proof the GOP has rigged the system. It’s just proof Democrats aren’t popular with voters.