I wouldn’t put too much stock in a special election as a bellwether of the midterms. The media is trying to meme a Biden comeback into being through the old-fashioned tools of narrative. The narrative emphasizes that Biden is getting things done, not so much what he’s getting done. And they don’t mind folding, spindling and mutilating the truth.
But the balance is slipping.
Too many Republicans and conservatives assumed that it was enough not to be Biden or his party in a season of economic misery and general dysfunction. And that’s true, Republicans will benefit by default. But default isn’t enough either. The lack of coherent messaging and a consistent agenda is a gaping hole. Unlike previous wave elections, the Republicans are divided, torn apart by infighting, and haven’t been able to mount a populist comeback in a way that speaks to a lot of people. The way the Tea Party did.
There have been effective tactics, I did that at the gas pump that reach a larger audience, and less effective ones that play to the base and not much else.
Senate seats were thrown away by corrupt deals with celebrities. Some conservative influencers spend more time on purity spirals and virtue signaling against other conservatives than anything else. The lack of coherent messaging is a reflection of an incoherent party that is being pulled in too many directions.
There are good reasons for some of these things, but they’re also crippling.
The situation isn’t catastrophic yet, but key Senate advantages have been thrown away and Republicans continue to be slow to take on things like the Inflation Increase Act and the student loan debt giveaway.
It’s become too easy to change the subject and too hard to do the difficult work of staying focused.
A red wave is still there for the taking. The question is whether Republicans will stop getting in each other’s way long enough to claim it.