It’s been more than two weeks now, and they still don’t get it. “They” refers to what passes for the current political leadership of our country, and “it” refers to the message that was actually being sent by voters from Seattle to Secaucus, from Minneapolis to Miramar, in early November's elections. That message – contrary to what they all think – was just this simple: We are tired of being ignored, we are angry about it, and we’re going to take it out on you.
To listen to most liberals and Democrats, what happened the other week was the perfectly predictable outcome of their failure to enact their radical legislative agenda – that is, voters didn’t reject the direction Democrats were taking the country; they were rejecting the fact that Democrats hadn’t gotten them there fast enough.
On the other hand, so-called “moderate” Democrats like Virginia Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger think voters rejected Democrats because they were trying to move too far left, too fast: Referring to President Joe Biden and his F.D.R.-size legislative agenda, Spanberger said, “Nobody elected him to be F.D.R., they elected him to be normal and stop the chaos.”
They’ve missed the point.
They’re assuming, for one thing, that voters are following the blow-by-blow of what’s going on in Washington, and are heavily invested in the outcome. They’re assuming, for a second thing, that voters are just as partisan and ideological as they are.
The fact is, most of the voters whose surge the other week surprised everyone aren’t focused on Washington. They’re living their own lives, in their own communities, or at least they’re trying to.
They are tired of being lied to, and they have, for the most part, tuned out the Washington politicians. What happens there only enters their lives when something so outrageous happens that it intrudes on their social media feed, or the chit chat before the Zoom call begins, or the conversation at their children’s still-masked school playgrounds.
They’ve been struggling with mask mandates and school closings and children being quarantined or restricted to remote learning, and they’re tired of being told by those in power that they’ll just “have to” “adjust” and “accommodate.” Now they’re being ordered by their government to get a vaccine that’s not even a true vaccine, and their employers are telling them they have no choice – if they work at a big enough company, the government has ordered them to comply or face being fired. And even when a federal Circuit Court of Appeals blocks the president’s order and says the order raises “grave constitutional and statutory questions,” the president’s administration ignores the court order and directs businesses to continue to comply with the order, outside the law.
Is it any wonder they’re angry?
They’re tired of politicians who talk out of both sides of their mouths – saying vaccines are necessary for society to function and everyone should get one…unless you’re an illegal immigrant apprehended trying to cross the border and the Biden Administration just wants to put you on a bus and drop you a few hundred miles further inland and release you there in the middle of the night. Oh, and while we’re at it, we’re going to take almost a million bucks per illegal immigrant family to settle lawsuits brought by illegal immigrants who were “traumatized” by their handling by U.S. law enforcement authorities when they were apprehended crossing the border illegally. Would a burglar who slipped and fell in my kitchen while trying to rob my house be entitled to sue me for the slippery floor? Are you serious?
They’re exasperated by politicians who tell them don’t worry, the tax increase they’re planning will only fall on the “rich” and all that massive government spending that’s going on won’t affect them negatively – really! – while, with their own two eyes, they see the cost of everything around them (gasoline, groceries, prescriptions, clothes, a night out, a movie with the kids) going through the roof and leaving them struggling to make ends meet at the end of the month.
All over America, voters are angry. I hear from them every day. When they speak of their elected leaders, they wonder, “What the heck is wrong with these people?!” because they simply cannot believe their elected leaders could be so stupid. It isn’t partisan and it’s not even ideological – it’s a reaction to what they perceive as the death of common sense and an outraged feeling of injustice.
Everyone understands liberals and Democrats are at peril in 2022’s midterm elections. If Republicans aren’t careful, they might find themselves in peril, too.
Jenny Beth Martin is honorary chairman of the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund.