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The “We May Be Bad but the Other Guys Are Worse” Argument

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The “We May Be Bad but the Other Guys Are Worse” Argument

The New Criterion November 6, 2022
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On recent political posturing.

Democratic candidates across the country, facing voters beset by inflation, rising oil and gas prices, a collapsing real estate market, a crime wave in the cities, and mounting chaos caused by an open southern border, have given up on running on the record they built over the past two years in Washington. The record is not good, most of them will admit; instead, they have built up a caricature of their Republican opponents and have decided to run against that. “We may be bad,” they suggest, “but the other guys are a lot worse.” If the voters dare to elect Republicans, they will soon wreck the economy, cut Social Security and Medicare, and even end Democracy As We Know It. That is the pitch Democrats are making in the final days of their midterm campaigns. 

President Biden has made this case explicitly in recent speeches. The “maga Republicans,” he says, will destroy the election system and take down democracy and popular government with it. Democrats have made mistakes, he acknowledges, but the opposition wants to derail the country altogether. Left-wing talking heads on television have said that Republicans, if they win the midterm elections, will imprison their opponents, kill children, and set up an authoritarian regime. They argue that Democrats will save democracy by setting up a one-party regime. The argument is illogical, but also unlikely to be effective in appealing to voters worried about crime or high prices for groceries, gasoline, and heating oil.

Continue reading the entire piece at The New Criterion

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James Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Photo by JillianCain/iStock

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