As Netroots Nation Drinks Up Democrat Kool-Aid, AFL-CIO Warns This Could Be A 'Powerful' GOP Year

Matt Vespa

7/25/2014 11:00:00 AM - Matt Vespa

As Katie Glueck of Politico wrote last Sunday, the faithful liberals who attended Netroots Nation last week are eating up the messaging national Democrats are spewing into the airwaves:

Party leaders have been pushing messages about economic fairness as they look ahead to what will drive midterm turnout — and with this crowd, at least, it’s resonating.

Issues such as raising the minimum wage, ensuring “equal pay” for women and, more broadly, reducing income inequality all played well here.

In an interview, Mary Burke, who is running for governor against Scott Walker in Wisconsin, also pointed to reproductive and voting rights as issues that could drive Democrats to the polls in an off-year. Perhaps the biggest applause line in Warren’s speech came when she melded anti-Wall Street talk with blasting the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the Hobby Lobby case, which will allow some private companies to opt out of covering birth control.

Of course, they did. Netroots is the liberal equivalent to our Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Yet, let’s focus on the Burke part for a second.

Hot Air’s Noah Rothman aptly noted the role single women could play in the midterm elections; these ladies could seriously ruin GOP plans to retake the Senate. Then again, the projected turnout rate for unmarried women isn’t good; a one-third drop from 2012 levels.

Wisconsin is one gubernatorial race where single women could deliver the deathblow to incumbent Republican Governor Scott Walker, who’s trying to recover from a ludicrous witch-hunt regarding his campaign finance operations during his 2012 recall election that has since been squashed by the courts.

But what about the working class vote? In fact, this bloc of voters has just as much sway, if not more so, than single women in national elections. Molly Ball of the Atlantic wrote yesterday that, “for the past decade, the working-class vote has determined whether the country swung toward Democrats or Republicans.”

It seems even the unions aren’t too optimistic about this year’s midterm elections. Ball spoke with AFL-CIO political director Mike Podhorzer, who compiled the data with working class voters and found that the GOP wins voters making over $50,000 frequently, while Democrats have a lock on voters making under $50,000. But, the margin of victory is volatile with this bloc of Democratic voters, where a victory by a 10-point or 20-point margin dictates how elections are won, according to Ball:

In 2004, Democrats won the working-class vote by 11 points; George W. Bush was reelected. In 2006, Democrats won the working-class vote by 22 points and took the House and Senate. In 2008, Democrats won by 22 points again, and President Obama was elected. In 2010, the margin narrowed to 11 points, and Republicans took the House back. In 2012, Obama was reelected—on the strength of another 22-point margin among voters making under $50,000.

So, how are things looking this year? Even union man Podhorzer acknowledges that this year will be friendly to elephants.

51 percent of voters making less than $50,000 plan to vote for Democrats, while 40 percent plan to vote Republican. (The rest are undecided, and the GOP wins the more-than-$50,000 vote 49-44.) That's exactly the same 11-point margin that has meant Democratic doom in every election since 2004.

Democrats, Podhorzer said, still need to find a way to frame the election in terms of "who's on your side." They haven't done it so far. If they can't, Podhorzer said, "This is going to be another Republican year, in a powerful way."

By powerful, we can assume he’s envisioning – to his horror –Republicans taking the Senate and increasing their majority in the House. With ISIS wreaking havoc in Iraq, Israel duking it out with Hamas (again), Ukrainian separatists allegedly shooting commercial airliners out of the sky, and the media reporting how Romney was right about Russia back in 2012, it’s looking more likely that this effort to get messaging on track isn’t going to happen soon.

Plus, the Obama administration has to deal with legal challenges to Obamacare, which conservatives have been successful in slowly chipping away key portions of the law in the courts; the latest victory being Halbig v. Burwell.

Oh, and the health insurance premium figures are to be released in the fall of this year, in the days leading up to Election Day.