The question has been what kind of contrast to draw.
That’s when the liberal Center for American Progress began exploring different approaches. Looking beyond the ex-President, its polling tested broader themes involving changes Trump accelerated within the GOP that have outlived his tenure.
“This is so much bigger than him,” explains Navin Nayak, president of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “They have radicalized.”
In separate polls, Hart Research and Global Strategy Group asked Americans who don’t strongly align with Trump about the GOP’s evolution. Their research suggested that many saw extensive changes in the last five to 10 years in the Republican Party, and in key sectors of the electorate — independents, non-Whites, Whites without college degrees — substantial shares said those changes have been for the worse.
Those findings anchor the new argument Biden and fellow Democrats have begun making. It seeks to cast the Republican quest for power as a threat not just to voters’ economic interests but also to American values, personal rights and democracy itself.
Odds against Democrats holding Congress remain long, since most voters continue to disapprove of the President’s performance. What Biden advisers hope is that the “MAGA Republican” theme gives them a fighting chance.
“There’s no magic formula for the party in power to win a midterm,” Dunn concludes. “Making it a choice, not a referendum, is a first step.”