Politics is often thought of as a zero-sum game (which in terms of electoral politics, it is), but ultimately the “sum” in politics is people. The political process is about the lives of everyday people. Reducing everything to a “blue state-red state” issue is extremely reductive and that’s the crux of the problems. Democrats are falling prey to the rampant tribalism plaguing our political process today.
You may have seen in the news a lot lately about misinformation. Misinformation has been spread about everything from COVID-19 to immigration to voting rights. Democrats often tackle the problems of misinformation by just stating, “That’s not the truth,” and moving on. Republicans dig in deep to misinformation because they’ve simultaneously defunded public education, creating an electorate without the requisite critical thinking or media literacy skills needed to sift through horrible misinformation. This has caused deep-red Republican stronghold states such as Montana, Kansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Alabama, etc. Federal Democrats generally avoid anything in these states because they don’t see any chance of winning there. This was all before the electoral upset in Georgia during the 2020 election cycle where Joe Biden won the state’s electoral votes and Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock were able to unseat incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, respectively. What most Democrats, especially in the Senate, fail to realize is that this victory was after years of fighting voter suppression on the ground in the metaphorical trenches. Former gubernatorial candidate for the state of Georgia Stacey Abrams worked tirelessly to make sure that the voter suppression measures in Georgia weren’t strong enough to block the vote of people of color any longer. It is fair to say that people of color delivered the Presidency to Joe Biden.
Even after this success, Democrats are still only investing resources into electoral fights that they assume they can win rather than trying to dig in edge roads in areas where they haven’t won in a long time. If Democrats invested more time and resources into so-called “fly over states,” they might have a decent chance at winning. Democrats from these Republican strongholds are almost exclusively in the House of Representatives. One example is Republican Sharice Davids who serves the greater Kansas City area on the Kansas side. The legislation she sponsors always aims to make the lives of people in her district better whether they voted for her or not. Democrats seriously need to take this approach and not in a high and mighty way. Democrats can pick up vital seats in the Senate if they make the conscious effort and decision to put money where they might lose.
This lack of Democrat desire to do anything to help the lives of people on the ground in Kansas and other deep-red states is, of course, because of one of our society’s greater ills: capitalism. Capitalism’s tentacles sink into people on the left just as much as they do on the right and cause politicians who should be thinking about the welfare of the people in those states that don’t vote for their party less than those that do. It’s a mental shift that needs to occur otherwise they are going to keep losing seats that they can’t afford to lose.