Normally, after a President from one party takes office, the other party has the big advantage in the midterms. But as the news cycle keeps reminding us, these are not normal times. The Republicans and the right wing have spent the past year and a half almost trying to find a way to lose the midterms. Now their strategy is coming into clearer focus – and it’s looking incredibly risky.
Even as the Democrats held their first January 6th Committee public hearing, the Republicans began pushing three specific narratives. First, inflation is too high. Second, gas prices are too high. Third, Hunter Biden.
You can see why all three of these prongs are so risky, right? If inflation and gas prices start to ease before November, these talking points will vanish. That would leave the Republicans with nothing but Hunter Biden – and that’s a problem, because they don’t even know what they’re supposed to be saying about him.
Normally, when the Republicans pick a fake scandal to run with, it’s something like “Benghazi” or “Hillary’s emails” – something that voters in the middle can be tricked into believing is a real scandal that disqualifies a candidate or party. Usually, the Republicans cycle through all kinds of fake scandals and then end up running with whichever one gets the most mainstream traction.
But outside of the right wing base, which is already voting a certain way anyway, no one cares about Hunter Biden. After a year and a half of trying to connect his name to every fake scandal possible, the Republicans should know by now that Hunter Biden scandals aren’t going to gain them a single additional vote.
But because Donald Trump still can’t admit he lost the election, and he’s somehow equated this with the phony Hunter Biden scandal that surfaced just before the election but got no traction, his allies in the Republican Party are still hyping Hunter Biden out of either loyalty to Trump or fear of Trump. Strategically, it’s the wrong move. Even from a villain standpoint, the Republicans should be looking for a more effective fake scandal that can actually sway additional voters in their direction.
Even as Biden and the Democrats have a number of big things on their side, such as a booming economy, Trump’s toxic unpopularity, the January 6th public hearings, the disgusting upcoming Supreme Court ruling against women’s rights, and on and on, the Republicans are putting most of their midterm chips on two narratives that could vanish and one narrative that’s getting them zero mileage. It’s an incredibly risky approach on the Republicans’ part. Then again, the politicians remaining in the Republican Party aren’t exactly the savviest of strategists.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report