There’s a new Odd Couple in American politics and it’s Biden pollster, John Anzalone and Trump pollster, Tony Fabrizio. You’d think these two wouldn’t get along, given their party affiliations, but watching their panel yesterday at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics reveals what John and Tony have in common: expertise and passion. Their Institute of Politics discussion—which can be viewed on the Institute’s YouTube channel—looks forward at what the midterms have in store by reflecting on last week’s results for both parties.
One of the lessons that Democrats can take from Biden’s low approval numbers is that voters need to have the benefits of the Build Back Better (BBB) Initiative laid out for them. Says Anzalone, “When Joe Biden started his Presidential campaign, nobody knew what he wanted to do when he was President. It is incumbent on a Democrat (or a Republican) to get their [candidate’s] message out. Explain ‘Here’s what’s in the bill, here’s what we’ve done for you, and here’s how it’s going to impact you. That is the absolute challenge.” Anzalone says that Democrats have the components of a powerful message for the 2022 midterms and they must harness what BBB can do for working families, seniors and small businesses.
The takeaway from McAuliffe’s loss in Virginia? Don’t underestimate the might of the Republican Party’s far-reaching efforts to get voters out and to bring swing voters to their side. As John told Fabrizio last night, “the Republicans … do redistricting really well; they do disinformation really, really well; and the third thing they do really well, I have to admit, is branding. They brand the Democrats really well.” ALG is one of many organizations that is working to help Democratic candidates take back control of the narrative next year and reverse the damage done by Republican wedge issues.
Keep an eye out for more exciting conversations coming soon, and be sure to listen to John’s podcast discussion with UChicago Institute of Politics Director David Axelrod if you missed it back in July.