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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 6/2/21

Red Alert: Progressives, Democrats Must Confront Republican "Trigger Words" or Lose Seats and Both Houses in 2022

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By Robert Weiner and Adjanni Ramos

The recent history of Progressives and the Democratic Party as a whole is to lose big in numbers during the first off-year election. Congress flipped from Blue to Red after the beginning of both the Clinton and Obama administrations, in the 1994 and 2010 congressional elections. Democrats lost 14 seats in the Senate and 54 seats in the House during the Clinton administration in 1994. Although they were able to keep the Senate until Obama's last off-year election, they lost 64 seats in the House. Neither administration was able to regain both House and Senate until the next elected president.

Congressional Republicans took greater advantage of the messaging issue and were quite good at winning House and Senate races. They will do so again, and this time it could carry them over, since Trump will not be on the ballot in 2022. Democrats are slowly moving toward losing to Republicans in the House or Senate during Biden's first off-year election, as they did during Clinton and Obama. As sure as day, Republicans will say: "Police Defunding," "Socialism," "Big Spenders," "Government Overreach," "Over-regulation," "Tax Increases", and "Hyping the Capitol Riots." These are Republican trigger words that voters historically react to, and Democrats repeatedly fail to give good counterpoints to. Democrats must have short, punchy, pithy, persuasive counterattacks. Words matter.

On Socialism


"Democrats are socialist." Republicans love calling Democrats and their agendas socialists. Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his team want to say they're going to stop Democrats from passing their "socialist" bills. After President Biden offered his Infrastructure Plan, Republicans began accusing it of being a "Soviet-style...wish list"


Every time Republicans talk about socialism amongst Democrats, which this is not, Democrats can point out the fascist tendency's in Trump's language and actions. Republicans want to lower taxes on the rich and wealthy and pass voting laws that restrict voting. President Joe Biden has openly said, "I beat the socialists. That's how I got elected. That's how I got the nomination." But he and all Democratic and progressive candidates need to say they are supporting "people programs, which are what Republicans oppose." Are libraries, Medicare, pubic colleges and school education and K-12 schools, food security, fire departments, drug treatment, assistance to hospitals, needed housing assistance, working roads/bridges/tunnels/electric grids/updated computer systems, even aid to small businesses and restaurants devastated by Covid, "socialist" or self interested help by the nation to people to help the country work better?

Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have both self-identified as socialists but base their belief system on programs for people rather than dictators. Nonetheless, Biden and Congressional candidates have to say, "I own the middle which most Democrats want, and define the middle as fixing the services - like infrastructure - that polls show the vast majority of Americans want."

On Police Defunding


Republicans repeatedly decried Black Lives Matter protesters as rioters throughout the first half of 2020. Democrats suffered electorally due to the Republican branding of them for "defunding the police" and other supposed anti-police rhetoric.


Progressives and Democrats have failed to say they simply want to stop "police murder and brutality" where it occurs. Democrats want to establish more community cops. They should point out Biden added 100,000 "community police" when he chaired the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Congress adopted that proposal. Republicans have been the ones trying to defund it ever since. We need and must fund more community police. Democrats and Progressives should point out how the Republicans have dismantled all efforts to establish and fund police reform, and even as we write are trying to do the least possible to get away with the horror of murders like George Floyd's.

On Tax-Increases

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Robert Weiner, NATIONAL PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND ISSUES STRATEGIST Bob Weiner, a national issues and public affairs strategist, has been spokesman for and directed the public affairs offices of White House Drug Czar and Four Star General Barry (more...)

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