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Port: Democrats, how can it be that you're losing?

Trump and his movement should be an albatross around the necks of Republican candidates. They tried to overthrow a national election! Most Republican members of Congress were either complicit in aiding Trump toward that end, or at the very least unwilling to be all that critical of Trump and his machinations publicly. Yet Democrats are on track to lose control of Congress.

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President Donald Trump at a Make America Great Again rally in Duluth, Minn., June 20, 2018. President Trump on Wednesday night turned his attention to the midterm battle that awaits Republicans here: Minnesota is one of the most important states in the fight for control of Congress.
(Tom Brenner/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)
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MINOT, N.D. — "Federal judge rejects RNC lawsuit against Jan. 6 panel," reads a headline from The Hill that went online just before I began writing this column.

The congressional committee investigating the violent assault on the U.S. Capitol building perpetrated by Trump supporters had requested emails from the RNC. The committee wants to measure the RNC's role in promoting the election conspiracies contributing to the riot, and a judge — a Trump appointee! — has found their subpoena to be valid .

But let us not re-litigate the Jan. 6 debate now. Rather, let's ask a question of Democrats.

How are you losing?

Trump and his movement should be an albatross around the necks of Republican candidates.

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They tried to overthrow a national election!

Most Republican members of Congress were either complicit in aiding Trump toward that end, or at the very least unwilling to be all that critical of Trump and his machinations publicly.

Yet you're on track to lose control of Congress.

A FiveThirtyEight.com analysis of the national polling shows Republicans with a consistent lead on the generic ballot. Which candidates Republicans actually choose in the primaries will give us a clearer picture, but many Democrats already seem to be conceding that their party will lose control of at least one house of Congress, if not both.

MORE FROM ROB PORT
A lot of people are watching these Republican primaries. North Dakota's government is dominated by Republicans, and there is a pitched battle going on right now for the soul of the NDGOP. These legislative races are the trenches in that battle. So far, based on one of the few objective data points we have, it appears the traditional conservatives are positioned to keep their hold on the party.

"It may be too late to prevent a blowout in the fall, but the future of progressive politics — and indeed our democracy — demands that we revive our relationship with rural communities," reads a recent New York Times column from a young, left-wing state lawmaker in Maine who is pleading with Democrats to start caring about rural voters again .

As a conservative, I'm not enthusiastic about electing Democrats, but I am worried that when Democrats in places like North Dakota aren't competitive, the Republicans feel little pressure to be better leaders.

But this problem isn't just rooted in the demise of Democratic appeal in rural America. President Joe Biden's administration hasn't gone well. He may not be the tinpot tyrant Trump aspires to be, but you aren't good simply because you aren't bad.

Americans are struggling with inflation and workforce shortages. They've observed our disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Biden's doddering indecision over Ukraine. There isn't a lot of faith that Biden and his party know how to address what's facing Americans.

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Also, the wishcasting from progressives about the demographic demise of Republicans simply hasn't come true.

During the Obama years, the conventional wisdom was that tough border rhetoric, among other issues, would drive voters like Latinos away from the GOP even as the white Republican base became a smaller percentage of the electorate.

That hasn't happened. In fact, there's been a rightward shift in Latino voters . Not only did Trump and congressional Republicans perform well with Latinos in 2016 (relative to past campaigns), but in 2020 they did even better .

In some places, like Florida, they did much better .

Democrats need to be wondering ... why?

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at rport@forumcomm.com. Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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