Mr. New York Millionaire
Wooing over the rabids may be the leading edge for Republican messaging leading to the 2024 contest.
The opening salvos of the 2022 mid-term election cycle have been playing out on the New Hampshire airwaves for several months now. Both Republican and Democrat PACs have been airing television ads in an attempt to define each other to voters long before voting day. I attribute this to the belief that the balance of Senate and House power is up for grabs this cycle, and New Hampshire is a key swing state.
The New Hampshire Federal delegation in Congress is Democrat. Republican spots paint Democrat leadership as being socialist big spenders. Democrats paint Republicans as hostile to women’s rights, pro gun, and obstructionist to social justice. This is of course, typical. What is unusual is the volume of ads to run here so early and even before candidates have been identified to run against incumbents.
New Hampshire has just over one million registered voters. Roughly 30 percent are registered Democrats and 30 percent are Republican. The majority of registered voters are Undeclared. The Undeclared voters are a mongrel mix of independent-minded sorts that do not want to dance to the tune of our established parties. These voters are politically active, and cut across the political spectrum from ultra-liberal to iconoclast libertarians. No politician can win statewide election without ample Undeclared voter support. The GOP leadership wooed three term governor Chris Sununu for a run at Senator Maggie Hassan’s seat, but he announced a few weeks ago his intentions to run for reelection as governor. This is the backdrop for a television spot currently running by the conservative Republican America Next PAC.
The spot caught my attention with its class warfare undercurrent. This may be a Republican theme leading to the 2024 elections. The ad presents a New York businessman riding out the pandemic at home and hobnobbing with Senator Hassan via Zoom. The narrator enlists viewers to tell Maggie Hassan to vote no on tax cuts for the rich and no to “Biden’s Build Back Millionaires Plan.” This is not your father’s Republican political commercial. Reagan’s “Morning Again in America” has been replaced with something you would expect the DNC to have aired once upon a time.
This ad is targeted toward blue collar and less-educated voters who are not happy with their lot going into year two of pandemic life. It tries to sow seeds of discontent growing among libertarian-minded voters who already feel that their flag has been tread upon. The wealthy ride the pandemic storm from their homes, while less fortunate folks face greater risk in factories and retail workplaces. The educated pontificate what is best for others, exacting benefits at taxpayers expense.
The Republican spot mines this raw nerve. New Hampshire has a large number of libertarian-minded voters. Libertarians here used to be a docile and academic sort. A segment of these folks have become active during the pandemic, protesting mask mandates at the governor’s home and, more recently in September, protesting vaccine mandates resulting in the cancellation of a Governor’s Executive Council meeting. I call these activists “rabid libertarians.” Wooing over the rabids may be the leading edge for Republican messaging leading to the 2024 contest.
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