Political experts skeptical that political parties can gain votes from each other’s base in the midterms

Bill Galston, Brookings Institute
Bill Galston, Brookings Institute(DC Bureau)
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 8:55 AM PDT|Updated: Nov. 1, 2022 at 8:59 AM PDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Both Democrats and Republicans are confident they can win the November mid-term elections because they claim they have each poached voters from regions where, traditionally, they do not have a lot of support.

Political experts are skeptical and point to different factors making a difference.

History has shown where a voter lives is a major factor in determining who they might vote for. Recently, voters in rural counties have supported more conservative candidates while voters in urban areas have backed liberal candidates.

Now the two main political parties say they are making inroads to attract voters from the other’s base.

Former President Donald Trump helped Republicans capture the vote in rural counties in the last two presidential elections. Republicans claim the party will see even more support after speaking with tens of millions voters in cities across America where Democratic voters typically live.

RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel has emphasized in building a coalition of volunteers that go out and go door to door and talk to their neighbors about what concerns them and to bring the message of our candidates across the country,” said Danielle Alvarez, spokesperson for the Republican National Committee.

On the flip side, Democrats say they have made a compelling case over the last year-and-a-half to not just inner-city voters but rural Americans as well that they are the ones coming through for them.

“It is Democrats after four years of promised infrastructure, weeks that are going to deliver rural broadband. We have a Democratic Party that with the Inflation Reduction Act is going to increase subsidies for health care that is critical for rural communities,” said Democratic National Committee Rapid Response Director Ammar Moussa.

Bill Galston is the Brookings Institution’s Senior Fellow for the Governance Studies Program. He says he is not buying the parties’ claims because he says time and money are limited resources.

“In many cases, reasonable candidates, reasonable campaigns will decide that they really don’t have the luxury of spending $5 to get an additional vote in the other guy’s base when for $2.50 or even $1, you have a better chance of getting a vote from swing voters or mobilizing your own voters to show up,” said Galston.

Galston also thinks the midterms will be won in the suburbs.

“If you’re asking me what the two parties are doing to try to appeal to the swing groups like suburbanites, like moderates, like independents, like Hispanics, the answer is a lot. And the election will, I think, will be determined by the relative success of the messages and the organizing efforts among those swing groups in the population,” Galston said.

The Brookings Institution’s research shows Democrats retook the House in 2018 and the presidency in 2020 because of increased support in the suburbs. However, Galston says the margins are too small to believe Democrats will hold onto the House.

Galston thinks the Senate is more of a tossup.