Republicans are euphoric about President Joe Biden's slump in the polls. They must realize that their path to victory on Nov. 5, 2024, is not assured.
Biden's latest poll numbers are terrible, but not historic. They pale in comparison with other presidential low points: Richard Nixon (23%), Jimmy Carter (28%), Bush 41 (29%), Bush 43 (19%), Donald Trump (29%). A large plurality of the electorate remains loyal even with everything falling apart.
The 2023 elections should be a wake-up call.
Once again, Republicans under performed. They lost both houses of the Virginia Legislature. The parental revolt went nowhere. Conservative, pro-parent schools board candidates made little headway. No change in Loudoun County, the epicenter of the parents' revolt. A pick-up of one in Prince William County. A complete shut-out in Fairfax County.
Loudoun County's leftist Commonwealth Attorney, Buta Biberaj, was defeated, but only by 300 votes. Amazing given everything that was exposed about her ideological reign.
Across America, voters ignored parent rights candidates. This raises the question as to whether Glenn Youngkin's 2021 narrow upset victory over Terry McAuliffe had more to do with the Democrat ignoring calls to step aside and let two African American women compete for the governorship.
The lessons of 2020, 2022, and now 2023 need to be understood if Republicans have any chance of retaking the White House and Senate, while maintaining their razor-thin majority in the House.
Money is one factor. Republicans were out-raised and outspent. While some candidates can overcome the money deficit with tireless door-to-door campaigning and imaginative social media, money remains a major determiner of success.
The biggest issue is abortion.
Fear drives votes. When fear goes away so does the fervor. The Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization decision turned fear for the unborn into fear for those seeking an abortion. Republican turnout faded as Democrat turnout soared.
Something similar happened after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Legions of Cold War conservatives and Captive Nations activists declared victory and retired. They won the war, but few remained to win the peace. The Balkan wars and rise of Vladimir Putin are just some of the results of those leaving the battle.
The same thing is happening in the wake of the Dobbs decision.
Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito's brilliant ruling should have ushered in conservative ascendancy. Unfortunately, anti-abortion activists bungled their messaging. Even with a two-month head start from the leaked opinion, Republicans and their anti-abortion allies ceded the initiative to pro-abortion forces.
Fear became the message. Leftist media and candidates declared Republicans would make the fictional totalitarian story of "The Handmaid's Tale" a reality.
In Virginia, Democrats poured nearly $17 million on abortion-focused ads, warning that if Gove. Youngkin won legislative majorities he would ban abortion. Republicans spent less than $2 million in counter ads.
Republicans undermined their cause. Alito built a constitutional firewall around his decision. He countered the dissenters by explicitly asserting Dobbs only applied to abortion, not other rights.
He established the threshold for reviewing future state abortion laws: "Abortion is not a fundamental right, the lowest standard of review must apply to abortion laws, under which the laws must be sustained if they rationally relate to a legitimate state interest."
Unfortunately, Alito's firewall vanished before the decision was officially released. In his concurrence, Justice Clarence Thomas opened the door for challenging other rights granted under substantive due process, including contraception, gay marriage and private sexual acts.
Republicans in Congress introduced national abortion bills, completely misreading Alito's decision. Republican governors and legislators pushed for severe abortion restrictions and hinted at pursuing Thomas' concept of eradicating other "rights."
This messaging disaster was a windfall for Democrats. They will build on their 2022 and 2023 success by amplifying "The Handmaid's Tale" theme in 2024.
Democrats are shaping the Republican apocalypse: Trump is a crook, Trump is dangerous, Jan. 6 must be avenged, Republicans are racists, Republicans are coming for all your rights.
Republicans must fight back. They will not get a perp walk for the Biden family; they will not get a Senate conviction if they impeach Alejandro Mayorkas or Joe Biden.
Republicans need something huge to break through the left's media wall.
While Fox News programs may beat the competition, the left's relentless media barrage is still a force to reckon with. The left's dominance among major print media is worse. Biden's alleged corruption, crime stories, and economic woes are not even covered by most media outlets.
Republicans confronting hate may trump Democrats promoting fear. A few Democrats broke ranks on Rep. Rashida Tlaib's pro-terrorist remarks. Donors to some colleges and universities pulled their funds to protest religion-based assaults.
Reacting to the Democrats' reality is a recipe for failure.
Republicans must shape a resonant reality to gain victory in 2024.
Scot Faulkner is the best-selling author of "Naked Emperors: The Failure of the Republican Revolution." He also served as the first chief administrative officer of the U.S. House, and was director of personnel for the Reagan campaign and went on to serve in the presidential transition team and on the White House staff. During the Reagan administration, he held executive positions at the FAA, the GSA, and the Peace Corps. Read Scot Faulker's reports — More Here.
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