Wolf on the Ballot

So at National Journal today Josh Kraushaar connected some dots and noted that Republican candidates running on their bidness records have seen it backfire when said bidness records conspicuously involved layoffs and outsourcing. It’s been an obvious feature of Michelle Nunn’s most recent efforts against David Perdue in GA SEN, with a big assist from a Politico report showing Perdue once pretty much described himself as Mr. Outsourcing. It’s also been central to Pat Quinn’s comeyback against Bruce Rauner in IL, and is a component of Dan Malloy’s message against Tom Foley in CT and of Martha Coakley’s effort to avoid an upset by Charlie Baker in MA. And all of this, of course, hearkens back to criticisms of Mitt Romney made both by the Obama campaign and by a couple of the Mittster’s Republican primary opponents.

So why is this line of attack so effective? Kraushaar offers a few thoughts from consultants, but I’d say it’s pretty simple. The handful of swing voters out there includes a decent number who don’t trust much of anybody in politics, and aren’t real sure who to blame for the souring of the American economy. But they do know an economic predator when they see one, and when it seems one of them is actually on the ballot asking for their vote, they aren’t likely to respond very well. What Democrats are doing is simply showing voters the shadow of the wolf in the pleasant features of GOP candidates who spent years profiting from the destruction of a traditional U.S. economy that is remembered fondly (more fondly than it should be, in many cases) even if it is gone forever. And by the end of this cycle, there’s a good chance Republicans will become a bit less certain about the wisdom of running so many candidates who got rich and cashed in even as the lives and dreams of so many Americans took a permanent turn for the worse.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.