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Other View: Complaining and whining isn't a winning strategy, as Democrats learn the hard way

Surrounded by Democratic House and Senate committee chairs, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., sign the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill during a bill enrollment ceremony on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on March 10, 2021, in Washington, D.C.
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It wasn’t so long ago when Missouri was a purple state, up for grabs by whichever party did the best job capturing voters’ imaginations. The state was split down the middle politically as recently as 2000, and even in 2016 Democrats held a U.S. Senate seat and the offices of governor, attorney general and state auditor. While Democrats watched helplessly, Republicans went for the political jugular by focusing on hot-button inspirational issues like gun control and abortion rights.

That’s not the Republicans’ fault. Responsibility for Democratic failures lies entirely with their own ineffective policies and messaging. The culmination of the party’s failures came last week with a U.S. Supreme Court draft ruling that could overturn Roe v. Wade.

Democrats have yet to come up with a workable strategy to chip away at Republican solidarity around that party’s beloved candidates and bedrock issues. Liberals stomp and protest at each new Republican outrage, yet they repeatedly fail to mobilize liberals and moderates the way Republicans rally their own faithful behind the conservative mission.

Republicans in 2012 were as horrified as were Democrats when the state’s leading U.S. Senate candidate, Rep. Todd Akin, blurted out his ridiculous assertion that women’s bodies had a natural way of rejecting pregnancies caused by “legitimate rape.” These days, such remarks might elicit barely a shrug among Republicans or perhaps even a gleeful chuckle as they watch Democrats erupt in outrage. Today’s leading Republican Senate candidate in Missouri is an admitted adulterer and credibly accused abuser of women, yet GOP voters seem unfazed.

To national Republicans’ credit, the GOP years ago began mapping out a strategy to mobilize voter support around key life-or-death issues. They focused on controlling state legislatures, which gave them control of redistricting to help ensure their domination of future elections. They focused on down-ballot judicial elections and attorney general seats, allowing them to flood the courts with challenges that have yielded landmark lower-court rulings on gun rights, religious education and abortion restrictions. The ultimate payoff for their persistence could come with Roe v. Wade’s reversal.


None of this means the Republicans are morally right. All it means is that they’re winning — at Democrats’ expense.

Voter participation numbers help explain why GOP victories keep coming. In Missouri’s November 2020 elections, according to exit polling, urban voters tended to stay home while rural and suburban voters dominated participation. Conservatives far outnumbered liberals in participation. Voters under age 30, who tend to be reliable supporters of liberal causes, only represented 12% of election participants. Well-educated voters are tending to tune out while less-educated voters — those with only a high school diploma — are being mobilized to the Republican side.

Democrats are wasting valuable time focusing on political correctness while complaining about the unfairness of GOP messaging. If that strategy isn’t winning elections, then clearly it’s time to change strategies.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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