Democratic Strategist: Uh, Guys, Swing Voters Don't Really Care About the Russia Saga

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Posted: May 23, 2018 10:45 AM
Democratic Strategist: Uh, Guys, Swing Voters Don't Really Care About the Russia Saga

Here's your periodic friendly reminder that if you're a news junkie who can't get enough saturation Russiagate coverage -- from either end of the ideological spectrum -- you're not exactly an 'average' voter.  Many of us try to pay attention to every twist and turn, and follow every charge and countercharge, related to the Russia matter.  Was there collusion?  Did the Obama administration improperly spy on the Trump campaign?  Who knew what, and when?  

These disputes are the lifeblood of political sites like this and cable news networks, but most ordinary Americans are absolutely not obsessed with politics -- and certainly not with the hottest firestorms raging inside the beltway and discussed endlessly in media circles.  In an interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum last evening, the Communications Director of the DCCC (the appendage of the Democratic Party tasked with electing House Democrats) confirmed the organization's finding that Russia and Robert Mueller aren't remotely top-of-mind concerns for most voters in swing districts -- via the Free Beacon

"Do you know a lot of people that care about Russia when you talk to folks who are out there in the country? Do they care?" MacCallum asked. "It's not the first, second, or third thing that voters are telling us  in the House battlefield in these swing districts," Kelly said. "I think people want this investigation to go unimpeded, but they really care about those pocketbook issues and that's what Democratic candidates are trying to focus on."

We mentioned a story last week in which Democratic aides griped that they're unable to get their preferred messages out because the Resistance-minded press is almost singularly focused on Trump-related scandals. "It's almost impossible" to get booked on many shows "unless you want to talk about Russia," one unnamed Senate staffer groused to the Daily Beast.  'Voters don't care' isn't a dispositive argument about the importance or seriousness of a story, but in this case, it's something a cautionary tale about priorities, emphasis, attention spans, and controversy fatigue.  I also realize that Democratic pollsters may genuinely believe their party truly needs to hit "those pocketbook issues" to win in November, but isn't there a small hiccup with that plan? Namely, do Democrats realize that growing numbers of voters are quite pleased with the state of their pocketbooks with Republicans in charge of the country?  

Economic confidence and optimism is hitting decade-plus high water marks across multiple polls, with President Trump garnering a sizable share of the credit.  Focusing on bread-and-butter issues would make sense for an opposition party in an unstable or deteriorating economic environment, but that's not the dynamic here.  We want to raise taxes and dramatically change succeeding policies doesn't seem like a winner amid robust economic and job growth.  Rallying your base with relentless opposition seems like the smarter play, candidly, especially if an intensity gap is your key to victory within a tightening electoral climate.  Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, are ascendant Republicans lining up for a ritual circular firing squad?  The Weekly Standard reports that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and allies are pondering an effective coup against retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan, leading to an early bout of denials and recriminations.  With internal tensions simmering and some policy disputes bubbling into the open, are the knives out for Ryan?  Here's one argument anti-Ryan forces have been making about a pre-election Speakership vote squeezing Democrats:

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[I]t would also force Democrats to cast votes for — or against — Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a favorite target of Republican campaign strategists, to be speaker. That vote could then be used against vulnerable Democrats during the height of campaign season, the source said.

But...is that necessarily how this would work? Eh, maybe not:


Courtesy of Allahpundit, I'll leave you with Paul Ryan wondering aloud how voluntarily breaking into factions by holding an unnecessary, "divisive leadership election" in an election year would help the party in any way (skip ahead to the 17:45 mark):