Jun 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

A GOP blueprint emerges

Kevin McCarthy

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy arrives for a Republican press conference at the Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Republicans, defined by one thing and one man for four-plus years, see a new, unifying platform to run on in the 2022 elections and potentially beyond.

The blueprint: Republicans tell us the work-in-progress plan argues that Biden Democrats are soft on crime, soft and ineffective on illegal immigration, and reckless and wrong with government spending.

  • "That's how we win back the [House] majority," a top GOP aide told me. "When we talk about Republican committee chairs, we talk about 'when' not 'if.'"

The big picture: Each topic can be backed by actual policies, instead of drafting off Donald Trump’s cultural grievances and fanatical allegations of stolen elections, top officials tell us.

The hitch: Um, Trump. He’s still the Pied Piper of modern Republicanism — and fixated on litigating the past, not legislating the future.

  • Last night in Wellington, Ohio, at his first post-election rally, Trump spent 94 minutes marinating in lies of the past, and teased a 2024 run — framed as winning the White House for the "third time."

A top Democratic official told me: "The most popular policy we have is taxing rich people. Why did Biden outperform in Macomb County [Mich.] and York Pa.? Because populism works. Biden's 'buy America, tax the corporations' message moves these voters."

  • On crime, the official told me that "voters care, but there's no sign they trust the GOP more than us. Trump ran this play in 2020 and lost."

Zoom out: The Democratic messaging group Future Majority in May released a deck identifying areas where Republicans hold an advantage:

  • Of the issues polled, "defunding the police," "open borders" and "reparations for slavery" were by far the biggest turnoffs for both independents and voters in general.
  • Republicans bested Democrats on jobs and the economy, gun rights, and "keeping you and your family safe."
  • The poll, Future Majority wrote in its report on the findings, "shows voters, especially Independents, believe Democrats overspend."

The bottom line: Democrats are internally flagging their vulnerabilities on the very issues central to the GOP's strategy to retake power next year.

Go deeper