Analysis: why Donald Trump will not save Democrats in 2022

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“If our most effective message in 2022 is that Republicans = Trump, we’re going to get creampied,” Brian Stryker, partner of Democratic polling firm Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, predicted in a note for Third Way, a centrist think tank. . .

Stryker came to this conclusion based on a series of focus groups with voters in suburban Virginia who voted Democrat Joe Biden in 2020 and voted for (or strongly considered voting for) the Republican governor. elected Glenn Youngkin last month.

“What these people didn’t like about Trump was that they didn’t like Donald Trump; it was not Donald Trump the policy constellation, ”Stryker said.

This is a very important observation. The Democratic attacks trying to tie Youngkin to Trump didn’t work because, well, Youngkin didn’t look, sound, or act like Trump. Youngkin was a businessman who made his name during the election campaign for wearing fleece vests. Voters just didn’t believe he and Trump were two peas in a pod.

“Respondents kind of laughed at this approach,” Stryker told Martin of the focus group participants. They said, ‘Oh, those silly commercials that compared Youngkin to Trump – he just doesn’t look like that guy. “”

Stryker’s words – and the memo he wrote – should serve as a major wake-up call to Democrats, many of whom assume Trump’s continued preeminence, coupled with his deep unpopularity not only within the Democratic base but also among the independents, can save their majorities in the House and the Senate next November.

Stryker says no, and voters didn’t reject Trump’s policies in 2020, they rejected the man who advocated those policies.

Without this man on the ballot in 2021 (or 2022), Democrats’ ability to tie Republicans – simply because they’re in the same party as Trump – to the former president is very limited.

What should Are Democrats telling voters? “We should spend 2022 talking about things we’ve done to cut costs for working families and get people back to work,” Stryker recommends.

Point: Donald Trump is perhaps the great unifier of Democrats. But voters just don’t believe every Republican candidate is a Trump on hold.

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