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Why the GOP beats Democrats

Earl Ofari Hutchinson

The GOP beat the pants off the Democrats in Virginia. It does that in far too many off-year elections. These wins are no aberration. The GOP has a focused, disciplined game plan that has never changed and won’t change for 2022.

Theories fly fast and furious. Democrats lose because the GOP knows how to manipulate voters with dog whistles, code words, or outright naked appeals to race and gender fears like the bogus critical race theory issue.

The GOP shamelessly rigs elections and then follows that by massive voter suppression. It has a Trump-friendly media behind it to savage and belittle Democrats openly and subtly. It sticks by its agenda and does not compromise with Democrats. All while the Democrats, timid and weak-kneed, eternally try to make nice with the GOP.

Cited as a classic proof is Mitch McConnell flatly saying no to then-President Obama’s constitutional right to pick a Supreme Court replacement, and Obama meekly complied.

And there’s more to it than that. Start with the GOP’s core base. The great myth is that there are not enough less-educated, blue-collar and rural whites in the electorate to push GOP presidential and congressional candidates consistently over the top.

But elections are almost always won by candidates with a solid and impassioned voter bloc. In the GOP’s case, those voters, along with white males in general and older, middle-income, college-educated voters vote consistently and faithfully, in a far greater percentage than Hispanic and Black, and especially, young voters. In 2016 and 2020, Trump secured the GOP’s non-college-educated blue-collar and rural white base. But he also got a lot of votes from middle-class whites, male and female, college-educated, businesspeople and professionals.

Many voters still wanted what powered Obama’s 2008 win — change. Many also have a mistrust of Democrats, seeing them as the party that pandered to minorities on spending and social programs at the expense of tax-paying middle-class and especially working-class whites.

There’s more. The Democrats are a coalition party. It’s been so since 1932, when FDR cobbled together Blacks, southern whites, northern blue-collar workers, immigrant ethnic groups and farmers into a winning coalition. The composition of the coalition has shifted and changed over time, but not the nature of the party. The coalition players now are Blacks, Hispanics, LGBT, youth, and middle-class college-educated white suburbanites, particularly women, progressives, and beltway corporate wheeler-dealers.

They bring many different views, outlooks and agendas to the table, which often ensures conflict and division. Those are the variables that, far more than any naked voter suppression, don’t inspire a stampede to the polls in off-year elections.

The GOP, by contrast, has no such problem. It is a hard-nosed, disciplined, ideological party that maintains order within the ranks, and sticks to its agenda without wavering. The mildest deviation from the party’s marching order brings instant reprisal.

There’s one more reason the GOP wins: It takes off-year elections deadly seriously. It engages its base continually. Be it an issue with a school board, water district or tax, it bombards its supporters with emails, texts and social media. It holds town halls and rallies. It does not rely on chance, but hammers core supporters over the head on the importance of action.

Time is running out. November 2022 is just around the corner. The message for the Democrats is simple: Learn how to win off-year elections or watch as the GOP beats the pants off you again.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst.

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