In a recent Associated Press profile of Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison, reporter Steve Peoples wrote that Harrison was "leading a party in peril."
Peoples is quite wrong. It's the Republican Party that is in real peril, to the extent it is a functioning political party at all. The AP is simply echoing the conventional Beltway assessment of Democratic Party fortunes following the narrow loss of the Governor's race in Virginia.
Such wrongheaded assessments can take on a dangerous life of their own if not refuted. They can dispirit the party faithful and turn off independent voters.
So it's time for a reality check.
There is only one party in Washington trying to solve the nation's many problems, and it's the Democratic Party. Republicans are sitting out the Biden administration, content to throw rocks from the sidelines.
Examples of Democratic Party accomplishments and Republican failures should be obvious even to the AP; clearly they require emphasizing.
First, it is the Democratic Party that has passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill. Donald Trump promised to do it, but he failed utterly to deliver.
Democrats may soon pass a second infrastructure bill that would expand child care, lower prescription drug prices, combat the effects of climate change, fund universal prekindergarten, and a lot more. House Republicans unanimously voted against this, including Nancy Mace, who also opposed the first infrastructure bill. Senator Tim Scott opposes both infrastructure bills. Call them what they are: the Pothole Twins.
Polls show that the public strongly supports most programs in both these infrastructure bills. Republicans missed this boat and will have nothing related to infrastructure to sell to voters in 2022.
Second, Republicans (with the exception of Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger) are now the party of insurrection. It is the Democrats who are investigating Trump's plot to deny Joe Biden the election victory he fairly won. As the noose tightens on Trump, Bannon, Meadows, and their allies, Republicans in 2022 will face many uncomfortable questions about the behavior of their party and their President around the January 6 insurrection.
Third, It is Democrats who have re-engaged with the rest of the world to confront challenges posed by climate change. It is the Republicans who walked away from this challenge in 2017 and who threw away four crucial years of progress.
Fourth, it is Democrats who are doing everything they can to end the Covid-19 pandemic through vaccination and masking. Polls show overwhelming public support for both. Republicans, instead, use public health as a political weapon, filing dubious lawsuits and spreading disinformation to keep the pandemic rolling along.
Fifth, it is President Biden who ended the Afghan war after Donald Trump surrendered to the Taliban at Doha. Journalists and Republicans have spread the fiction that it should have been easy to end this 20-year debacle. What fools! No war ends easily or quickly. The American Civil War didn't end at Appomattox Courthouse. The U.S. has been grappling with its effects for the past 156 years, with no end in sight. Nevertheless, Republicans and journalists assert there was some tidy way to end the Afghan War.
Sixth, it is Democrats who want to teach history in the schools. It is Democrats who believe an understanding of the roots of the Civil War, the events of Reconstruction, the Jim Crow era, and the Civil Rights era must be a large part of any American history curriculum. Polls show parents strongly agree with this. It is Republicans who want to ignore this history. Their bizarre focus on Critical Race Theory is meant to obfuscate their true intent, which is to Whitewash the history curriculum.
So which political party is in peril? Is it the Party that passed infrastructure legislation; that is addressing climate change; that is battling the pandemic; that ended the Afghan War; that is prosecuting the insurrectionists; and that wants the real history of the country taught in the schools?
Or is it the party that has no legislative agenda; that embraces the insurrection and its leader; that does all it can to keep the Covid-19 virus spreading; and that wants to teach history from a White perspective?
Democrats must hammer home this reality. In debate they must be stronger, blunter, and tougher. Democratic messaging must focus squarely on how dangerous, divisive, and unpatriotic the Republican Party really is.
So here are some simple "bumper sticker" messages with which to brand Republicans:
REPUBLICANS LIKE POTHOLES.
REPUBLICANS WANT HIGH PRESCRIPTION DRUG PRICES.
REPUBLICANS DENY CLIMATE CHANGE.
REPUBLICANS HATE DEMOCRACY.
REPUBLICANS WHITEWASH HISTORY.
It's not the Democrats who are in peril. It's the country that's in peril, because of Republicans. Americans must understand that one party is working for them. The other is working against them. That must be the dominant media message from now until 2024.