Analsysis: Did Rick Scott just hand Democrats an *actual* message?
“Democrats wrestle with what message to take into the midterms,” The Washington Post wrote in February.
“Democrats still divided over midterm messaging,” read a headline from Roll Call in March.
“After Build Back Better’s collapse, Democrats still struggling with how to message the midterms,” CNN reported in April.
You get the idea. Hopes were once high that Democratic majorities in the House and Senate would pass President Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan — a sweeping (and expensive) proposal that cut across almost every domestic concern.
When Build Back Better went off the rails — after West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin said he couldn’t support it in late 2021 — Democrats found themselves in a weird spot.
They had passed a coronavirus relief bill. And an infrastructure package. And yet voters either didn’t know or didn’t care. Biden and his party were dead in the water.
Then Republicans gave them a gift. Or, to be more specific, Florida Sen. Rick Scott gave them a gift — in the form of an 11-point plan that he said he would push to advance if Republicans retook the majority. Among its proposals are sunsetting Medicare and Social Security and imposing an income tax on all Americans.
Democrats, desperate to avoid a political cataclysm this fall, have seized on Scott’s plan like Rose on that debris from the sinking ship in “Titanic.”
“Americans have a choice right now between two paths reflecting two very different sets of values,” Biden said in a speech Tuesday that sought to draw a bright line between his administration’s solutions for the country’s problems and those offered by the Republicans, as illuminated in Scott’s plan.
“The MAGA Republicans are counting on you to be as frustrated by the pace of progress, which they’ve done everything they can to slow down, that you will hand power over to them … so they can enact their extreme agenda,” Biden added.
Now, look. Simply saying “Donald Trump” and “MAGA” over and over again between now and November is no guarantee that Democrats won’t get walloped at the ballot box. If history is any guide — and it usually is! — then Democrats are headed for a rough election, almost no matter what their message is.
But we also know this about politics: Some message is better than no message. And a message aimed at casting your opponents as too extreme for the ideological middle of the country has worked before.
The Point: Rick Scott handed Democrats a bat to smash over his head and the heads of his fellow Republicans. That’s true whether or not it helps Democrats fight off their worst-case scenario this fall.