Is the U.S. in Crisis? Republicans Want Voters to Think So.


Looking to the medium term, the GOP is sending out a message that the country is in trouble on several fronts.

The coronavirus pandemic is waning. The economy is slowly climbing back up. And according to recent polls, most Americans have a sense optimistic about the future.

On Thursday, the Consumer Comfort Index, a polling measure of Americans’ confidence in the economy, hit your highest before the pandemic.

But as our Congress correspondent Jonathan Weisman As a new article points out, House Republicans are pushing for a very different interpretation of what’s going on. During a news conference held on Tuesday, the discussion was “crisis”: it was used once every minute for about half an hour. Republican leaders are arguing that the economy, national security, the US-Mexico border and more are at risk.

Such arguments are often used by the party out of power. But with Republicans working so hard at the message, the question is whether it will resonate enough to throw a wrench in President Biden’s efforts to advance his broader agenda — and if, more than a year from now. , it would have enough staying power to lift the Republican Party’s base in the midterm elections.

For his article, Jonathan spoke to several Republican elected officials about the GOP’s new message. I caught up with him on Thursday to hear about what he learned.

Hi Jonathan. As you outline in your article, House Republicans have begun to advance a narrative about the country’s “crisis.” All kinds of crises really. But polls show Americans’ spirits are rising as the pandemic subsides. Why this GOP message and why now?

It is true that they are not capturing the general post-pandemic joy of the country. But core Republican voters are clearly feeling upset by all this Bidenism — a massive pandemic relief bill; The proposed social and infrastructure spending bill is not in the trillions, but in the billions; Faces on countless Trump policies.

Republicans in Washington want to push that restlessness into panic mode, in hopes that the movement will spread beyond base to generalized anger in next year’s midterm session. Hence the mantra: crisis, crisis, crisis.

How much would you say disaster fiction is a product of today’s polarized media landscape? Many of the arguments outlined in your piece sound like red meat to the Republican base—people who might click on a Web ad bashing Joe Biden, or donating to Representative Marjorie Taylor Green—but it seems less certain. They will resonate with middle-of-the-street voters. Is this a concern for Republican leaders?

Oh is it All About the polarized media landscape. The Republican leader will watch his story echo and declare victory on Fox, One America News, Newsmax and Grandpa’s Facebook feeds. They might not even realize that it’s not getting much traction elsewhere.

But it’s fine for them. Historically, the party out of power in the White House scores big in midterm elections. That party’s base voters are usually smart about their defeat in the presidential election and have something to prove. Voters for the party in the White House feel secure that their man will prevent anything terrible from happening, and they relax.

So the turnout is in favor of those who are out of power, and in this case, those out of power in Washington have substantial gains in major states—Georgia, Texas, and Florida to retake congressional districts in their favor. Think to make Republicans just need to keep their voters angry, agitated, and ready to vote.

The most prominent example of a “crisis” message has come on the immigration front. Soon after Biden took office, Republican officials and conservative commentators began hammering him for what he branded as a “border crisis.” How effective have GOP strategists found that message, and is it influencing their thinking going forward?

The crisis of one politician is the bad condition of another politician. The border is in a very bad shape, with fears of people crossing illegally at a level unseen since Bill Clinton was president.

The problem for Republicans is that with the Biden administration’s diligent efforts to get unaccompanied children out of Border Patrol prisons and into less visible shelters run by the Department of Health and Human Services, the poor optics have faded. Has been. And unless you’re living near the border, you’re not seeing a “crisis.” So Republicans have gone ahead, throwing more visible spaghetti at the wall, such as rising prices and labor shortages, to see what sticks.

probably the biggest actual Last year’s political crisis has been one of Donald Trump’s build-up: his lies caused many of his supporters to lose faith in American democracy itself, some even attacking the Capitol on January 6. Today, GOP legislators across the country are still in re-election, passing voting bans, and leading sometimes-chaotic details About the 2020 election results. Is there any concern among Republicans that sounding the “crisis” alarm may cause voters to think a little about who the real source of the problem is?

good question But if there’s a concern about it, they’re not moving. You can view much of the Outrage Machine’s output as a multi-faceted diversion from a crisis of confidence in democracy.

The second real crisis is a once-in-a-century pandemic that has killed at least 600,000 people in the US. Attempts to spark outrage over the Wuhan lab-leak theory – blaming China entirely for all those deaths – apparently There is an attempt to convince Americans to try to forgive Trump for his mishandling of the coronavirus that was all a Chinese conspiracy. For most Trump supporters, this is a slam dunk. For everyone else, it’s probably a stretch.

Even if it was somehow proved that the coronavirus was invented in a Chinese laboratory, its spread in the United States was far more Trump’s fault than Xi Jinping’s.

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