Voters say democracy is on the ballot … but whose democracy?
Recent polls have indicated that the future of democracy is among the top issues in voters’ minds. It generally comes in near the top three critical issues – with immigration and the economy alternating between one and two. The best showing for the “future of democracy” has been a third place showing in a single poll. Regardless, it is an issue of significance in the voters’ minds.
That is generally interpreted as a good issue for Democrats – who have been pumping it as the existential issue. Nothing – not immigration, the economy, crime, wars overseas nor even abortion – is as important as their alleged threats to the Republic posed by the reelection of President Trump.
A recent CNN poll showed that REPUBLICAN voters in New Hampshire place the democracy question as the second most important issue – just behind immigration and ahead of economic concerns.
CNN’s election analyst David Chalian declared that to be good news for the Democrat political narrative. He said it puts those voters on the progressive side – “if you can put a philosophic label on the issue.” (Memo to Chalian: It IS a philosophical issue.) Anchor Dana Bash doubled down by calling the polling outcome “surprising.” But is it?
Apparently, Chalian and Bash are so myopically committed to the Democrat narrative that neither apply logic nor understanding to the meaning of those polling numbers.
In terms of logic. Chalian and Bash would have you believe in the Democrat version – essentially that electing President Trump will put an end to American democracy … period. Why would Republican voters who are overwhelmingly casting their votes for Trump think he is a threat to the Republic? That does not pass the smell test.
No, there was no flaw in the polling. What Chalian and CNN could not explain is easily explained. When the voters of New Hampshire say the future of democracy is an important election issue, the question is which party do they believe is the greatest threat.
Conservatives, like me, have long said that progressivism is an evolving threat to democracy. We fear that the left’s imposition of an ever more powerful, more regulatory, more expensive and expansive federal government ruled over by a Washington elitist establishment is the real threat to personal freedom – ergo THE long-term threat to American Democracy. We do see democracy as an important issue, just from a different perspective. And it is on the ballot for conservatives.
This is a frequent problem in polling. We often see that the general public has an overwhelming lack of confidence in Congress. But that does not tell us which side of the aisle they distrust the most. In the past – when the more informative questions are asked – the party in charge tends to get more blame than the “outs”. The current polling data that has been reported does not indicate the reason behind the polling number.
Any competent political strategist knows that such a general question – without an indication of the partisan or philosophic breakdown – is useless for planning purposes. The way Chalian and CNN spun the story could lead democrats to wrongly believe that THEIR democracy narrative is a winning issue. That is not necessarily true.
Based on my 50 years of dealing with politics and polls, it is my opinion that the vast majority of those Republican voters who placed the future of democracy as a major consideration are not buying into the Democrats’ narrative or the Chalian/CNN spin. They see the increasingly radical leftwing Democratic Party as the danger.
So, there ‘tis.