What Matters Most During the Midterm Elections

Democrats are gambling that bread-and-butter issues can be sidestepped in voters’ minds

What Matters Most During the Midterm Elections
A woman casts a vote in New York City on June 28, 2022. (Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)
Stu Cvrk

U.S. politicians and the chattering classes are focused like laser beams on the upcoming midterm elections in November. This is because the No. 1 job for all politicians is getting elected and reelected—everything else is a distant second.

The latest Rasmussen Reports polling on July 9 shows that “48% of Likely U.S. Voters would vote for the Republican candidate, while 40% would vote for the Democrat.”
Even Democrat-friendly polls like Economist/YouGov and Monmouth show Republicans are up by a few percentage points, causing shockwaves among elected Democrats, their paid consultants, and media allies.
At this point, the conventional wisdom is that Republicans will almost certainly flip the House of Representatives and will probably flip the Senate in November, as left-leaning Politico graphically depicted here. However, opinions vary and usually depend on the politics of the observer.
Let us examine the dichotomies among American voters and how those differences drive the polls.

'Where You Stand Depends on Where You Sit'

Nelson Mandela’s famous quote elucidates the importance of perspective in simple terms. In political terms, the issues that a person holds most dear define one’s ideology and natural voting propensity.

For example, some people adhere to a basic philosophy that “anything goes” and thereby lean left in their politics while aligning with those who seek extra-constitutional methods to achieve their desired political objectives. Others are motivated by religion-derived moral values and gravitate toward politicians who support those values. Some people are single-issue voters (abortion); others are influenced by a broad spectrum of topics affecting economics, national security, and foreign affairs.

Candidates and political parties capitalize on these tendencies among masses of voters when the topics are beneficial and minimize public discussion when those issues are politically unfavorable—primarily through misdirection and misinformation by media allies. This is the essence of politics—the persuasion (or fooling) of sufficient numbers of people on key issues during the election cycle in order to be elected to office.

 Gasoline prices at an Exxon gas station behind an American flag in Edgewater, New Jersey, on June 14, 2022. (Mike Segar/Reuters)
Gasoline prices at an Exxon gas station behind an American flag in Edgewater, New Jersey, on June 14, 2022. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

What are some of the top issues for many voters at the moment?

Derived from many polls on the subject, these include the following: the price of gasoline, inflation in general, illegal immigration, the Dobbs decision (overturning Roe v. Wade), the Russo-Ukrainian war, unchecked violent crime, supply chain interruptions, climate change, COVID-19 mandates, LGBTQI and woke activism in schools (both sides of the issue), gun control (both sides of the issue), etc.

The issues themselves divide people into groups, either for or against. Here are some ways to characterize those divisions, with examples of how the stances on issues line up.

Republican Versus Democrat

Republicans are generally right-of-center voters while Democrat voters trend left. Independents can be all over the political map, depending on the debated issue.

Biden administration policies have exacerbated the divisions through a complete reversal of Trump administration policies, with the result being high energy costs and spiraling inflation, a flood of illegal immigrants across the open U.S.-Mexico border, and support for LGBTQI and woke activism throughout the land using the full force of the federal government.

Thus, Democrats shift topics away from inflation, the economy, and border security while focusing on abortion, gun control, and climate change (implementing elements of their Green New Deal). Meanwhile, the trends are away from Democrats on most issues due to the deteriorating U.S. economy and rising inflation, including that individual voters of both parties are viewing the Republican Party more positively as 2022 unfolds, as noted here.

Constitutional Rights Versus Authoritarianism

Republicans generally support the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, especially the First and Second Amendments and the constitutional responsibilities of the U.S. Congress to write the laws of the land.

Democrats are criminalizing political speech, weaponizing federal agencies against their political enemies, advocating for even more unconstitutional executive orders from President Joe Biden to achieve their political objectives (for example, pushing for abortion “rights” by circumventing Congress), and doubling down on enforcement of LGBTQI and woke policies in federal agencies and public schools. Democrats also favor using authoritarian power for vaccine mandates, economic lockdowns, and other direct actions violating individual rights.

 Close-up of the U.S. Constitution.
Close-up of the U.S. Constitution.

Inside the Beltway Versus Outside

Six out of ten of the wealthiest counties and independent cities in the United States are in the Washington area. Loudoun County (Virginia) is the wealthiest county, with an estimated median household income of $142,299. Many residents work directly for the federal government or as contractors supporting government agencies. Where they stand is where they sit: most support the party of government (Democrat), especially regarding the growth of federal budgets and control.

The rest of the country does not have the luxury of feeding off U.S. taxpayer dollars. Thus, there is more balance, if not outright skepticism, about much of what comes out of Washington.

The dystopian film series "Hunger Games," which depicts an authoritarian central government that crushes the outlying districts that supply it with everything, has been trashed by the likes of the left-leaning Daily Beast here. But more and more Americans recognize the parallels between the series and the authoritarianism implemented in real-time by a Democrat-dominated federal government.

Rural Versus Urban

Urban cities are run mainly by Democrats, while rural areas are generally aligned with the Republican Party. For example, the heavily urban Northeast and large coastal California cities vote Democrat, while the more sparsely populated central states typically elect Republicans.

The rural perspective is quite different from the urban one; most people from rural states/areas are involved in the production of basic commodities such as food, minerals, and energy supplies, while city-dwellers are consumers who are far removed from a basic understanding of the economics and physical laws that affect commodity production.

Thus, rural voters tend to understand the demonstrated energy potential of hydrocarbon fuels, while urban voters are disconnected from the laws of thermodynamics and support green technologies.

Wealthy Versus Low Income

Another way to divide voters is by class and income levels. Wealthy Americans do not feel the bite of inflation and high gasoline prices to the degree that lower-income Americans do. Inflation costs eat up a substantially larger part of the discretionary income of Americans of modest means.
But there are far more middle- and lower-class Americans than the wealthy, and that is why the Biden administration and Democrats are underwater in many polls: ordinary people feel the impact of Democrat policies in their daily lives with every trip to the grocery store and gas station. No wonder the Democrats and their media allies are focused on the Dobbs decision, gun control, and LGBTQI/woke activism.

Uniparty Versus Sheep

The Uniparty consists of the Democratic Party and their Republican allies in Congress—call the latter Republicans-In-Name-Only, as appropriate.
The Uniparty has just passed gun control legislation with the support of 14 Senate Republicans who voted against the wishes of their own constituents, many of whom are gun owners concerned about the continuing attempts by the Uniparty to erode the Second Amendment.

The Uniparty also supports a never-ending stream of aid to Ukraine with no strings attached despite no public debate about whether and how U.S. interests are affected by Russian economic sanctions or the ongoing war itself.

We, the “sheep,” are more concerned about stopping the flow of illegal immigrants across the U.S.-Mexico border than Uniparty support for the completion of a Polish wall to keep out Belarusian (and other) migrants fleeing the Russo-Ukrainian war.

 Workers unload a shipment of military aid delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Boryspil airport, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 25, 2022. (Efrem Lukatsky/file/AP Photo)
Workers unload a shipment of military aid delivered as part of the United States of America's security assistance to Ukraine, at the Boryspil airport, outside Kyiv, Ukraine, on Jan. 25, 2022. (Efrem Lukatsky/file/AP Photo)

Abstract Versus Real

Or those who treasure ideology over real life. Breitbart said it well in this May article: “Senate Democrats are betting the midterm election on the issue of abortion instead of focusing on reducing inflation, [which is] the most important issue to voters.”
And they’re also betting on red flag gun laws in the aftermath of recent shootings. Biden has stated that gun control should be “central to voting” in November. Except neither abortion nor gun control seems to be the vote-getters that Democrats think they are.
As reported by The Federalist here, “A new poll by Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies … shows that the Republican position on abortion is more favorable to the average American than the Democrat stance is.”
In fact, a whopping 72 percent of those polled favor a strict ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. And red flag laws passed by Congress and Democratic state legislatures are going to be determined to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, which has already ruled against warrantless gun confiscation laws in recent cases.
Unfortunately for Democrats, inflation and the economy continue to top the list of issues about which Americans are most concerned.

Concluding Thoughts

In 2022, because of the disastrous economy—8.6 percent inflation with no end in sight and the highest gasoline prices ever—Maslow’s hierarchy of needs trumps esoteric and ideologically driven issues. The foundation levels of Maslow’s pyramid consist of physiological (food, water, shelter) and safety needs (physical security and stability). The more esoteric and abstract needs are layered on top, including love and belonging (friendship and family), esteem (recognition and respect), and self-actualization (realization of one’s full potential).

Many lower-income Americans are concerned about basic physiological needs—simply providing food for their families, holding onto their jobs, and dealing with high energy bills and inflation while living paycheck to paycheck. These are the issues that matter most to the largest number of Americans. Others like unlimited abortion, red flag laws, green energy, and LGBTQI “rights” are far down the list of their concerns (and are in the upper layers of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs).

It is thus unsurprising that the Democrats and their media allies are trying to distract Americans with their Jan. 6 House Select Committee because they have no economic solutions.
Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
Stu Cvrk retired as a captain after serving 30 years in the U.S. Navy in a variety of active and reserve capacities, with considerable operational experience in the Middle East and the Western Pacific. Through education and experience as an oceanographer and systems analyst, Cvrk is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he received a classical liberal education that serves as the key foundation for his political commentary.