Donald Trump is a media show of force. His pop culture and political influence is second to none. However, he is also a fading star, losing influence nearly every day. Furthermore, the media’s efforts to characterize the 2022 and 2024 elections about Trump and Jan. 6 won’t drive out Democrats as it has in years past. Trump’s positive and negative sway dwindles every time the media pushes topics most Americans already have moved past, while ignoring issues actually impacting everyday Americans.
The media and congressional Democrats appear genuinely stupefied that more Americans aren’t watching the House hearings on Jan. 6. Meanwhile, Trump is still losing efforts at the state level to overturn the 2020 election results. The Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and efforts to relitigate the 2020 election are not important to American families, who are struggling to cover their bills or facing shortages in grocery stores. This is a primary reason why Democrats are faring so poorly in generic 2022 polling, while Republican candidates who center their campaigns around the “stolen election” idea also are falling behind. When the focus is Trump, it will be a loss for the party who drags him out. Even the mention of Trump’s name has become something of a strawman meant to drive up ultra-MAGA candidates or those to the left of Lenin.
Democrats and their allies in the media believe that focusing on Trump’s eccentricities will paint all Republicans with a broad brush. While defensively insisting that the nation isn’t suffering from inflation, left-wing candidates are relying on the message that Republicans are “extremists” in order to drive their base to the polls. As Rep. Mayra Flores’s victory in Texas shows, this is likely not going to succeed. Flores earned her seat in the majority-Latino district in south Texas by running on conservative values. Neither will the Democratic National Committee spending thousands on 2020 election truthers in Republican primaries work, believing that they would be easier targets in the general election. Rising interest rates will either not knock down inflation, cause a recession, or both. With our economy entering into a recession, the last thing that Americans care about is trying to prop up or destroy Trump’s ego.
We saw an over-focus on the 2020 election affect races in primary elections around the nation. Those candidates who ran heavily on Trump’s claims that the last presidential election was “stolen,” such as Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue, lost big. Even Trump foe, Georgia’s Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, won his primary without a runoff. The same applies for candidates who run with Trump as their central theme. In Illinois, Rep. Adam Kinzinger didn’t even get to a primary — he was redistricted out of Congress. Rep. Liz Cheney will likely lose her renomination in Wyoming because of her singular attention on Trump.
The recent years have shown a clear message: When Republicans focus on issues, they tend to win. Gov. Glenn Youngkin won Virginia on his policy of parental control of education. We’ve seen similar focus, and even more wins, from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Candidates who effectively focus on solutions to stop illegal immigration, drive down consumer prices, spur economic growth, and empower parents in their children’s education will see big wins in 2022 and 2024.
It is unlikely that the legacy media or the Democratic Party will recognize anytime soon that Trump and Jan. 6 are losing topics. Even catastrophic losses in Congress will likely cause the Democrats to double down on their messaging centering on Trump ahead of 2024. This is partly because it is easier to run against Trump and his brand’s “extremism” than to run on the failures the past few years that unified Democratic control has brought about — especially when 85 percent of Americans believe the nation is “heading in the wrong direction.”
The next two years are likely to surprise candidates from both parties, as well as media hacks who made millions off Trump’s first foray into politics. When families surviving on a single paycheck can’t stretch it to meet rising prices, they won’t be motivated by Jan. 6 coverage. Parents who don’t want their kids to not suffer under new COVID lockdowns or a politicized curriculum at school don’t want to hear about #Resistance fanfiction or Pennsylvania overturning its popular vote results.
When each campaign ad or presidential debate turns into a whiny lecture about the 2020 election, voters will tune out the worst offenders. It’s as if the 1980 election, which focused on ending inflation and reviving the economy, instead was focused on a debate about whether Watergate was “RIGGED.”
Kristin Tate is a visiting fellow at the Independent Women’s Voice and a libertarian writer. Her latest book is “How Do I Tax Thee? A Field Guide to the Great American Rip-Off.” Follow her on Twitter @KristinBTate.
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