With hours left until Americans head to the ballot boxes, a Democratic strategist warned on CNN that the party should expect “a bad night” after months of not listening to voters.
“I am not happy. I just think that we did not listen to voters in this election,” Hilary Rosen said on CNN Sunday. “And I think we’re going to have a bad night when voters tell you over and over and over again that they care mostly about the economy. Listen to them. Stop talking about democracy being at stake.”
“Outnumbered” responded, arguing that Democrats’ messaging failed to connect with the top issues facing voters.
“This ‘democracy dying’ [motto] is the new ‘defund the police’ [that] we saw in 2020,” co-host Kayleigh McEnany said. “Defund the police backfired.”
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“The Democrats saw this as a game,” co-host Emily Compagno argued. “But Republicans the entire time did not. They listened to the American people.”
A recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that Americans largely view inflation as the primary issue facing this country. Abortion came in as the second issue, but with significantly less attention than the economy.
Democrats have honed their messaging in on abortion and threats to democracy, in many cases trying to avoid conversations about crime, inflation, the economy and education. Election integrity and voter impression have also been talking points in the Democrats’ final pitch to voters.
Critics of the messaging have come from both sides of the aisle.
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“The point is there’s a messaging misalignment here, where voters are saying one thing and the Democrat Party is saying something entirely different,” McEnany said.
“This administration never once said, I hear you or even I’m listening, but instead they said, here’s how you should vote, here’s what you should care about, and we are making you the enemy for even daring to think differently,” Compagno said.
In addition to criticizing the Democrats’ “misalignment” of priorities, critics have also highlighted the ineffective obsession with President Trump and MAGA supporters.
“It’s a way of getting at people’s worries about Trump, because no one motivates Democrats better than Donald Trump,” Fox News senior political analyst Brit Hume said. “HJe motivates a lot of Republicans, but he motivates Democrats even more.”
“So they would love the election to be more about him.”
Top leaders including President Biden, former President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have doubled down on anti-GOP rhetoric in conjunction with the “threat to democracy” messaging.
Compagno, however, pointed out Democrats funneled huge sums of money into MAGA Republicans’ campaigns.
“If it was such a threat to democracy if the GOP gains House seats and senatorial seats, why then did that party fund billions to put those names on the ballot if it was truly existential, if it really was a battle for the soul of America?” Compagno asked.
As the final hours until the midterms wind down, the ballots will decide whether Democrats’ messaging resonated with voters. Polls still show control of Congress and key gubernatorial races as a toss-up.
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Hume concluded with skepticism that the final message to voters will succeed.
“They keep saying ‘democracy is on the ballot,’” Hume said. “The truth is, democracy is the ballot.”
Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller and Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.