Writing for The New Republic, Alec MacGillis wonders why the Democrats failed to successfully frame the 2014 midterms as a "Who's on your side?" election they way they did in 2012.
"Democrats lost," MacGillis writes, "not least because of their startlingly paltry support among non-college-educated white voters, precisely those who stand to benefit most from policies like raising the minimum wage and expanded health coverage. This is causing great consternation for Democratic strategists and pollsters, who, as Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent noted on Wednesday, blame a "failure to connect with these voters' economic concerns."
Ultimately, MacGillis says Democrats "need to come up with a broader agenda to address voters' economic anxiety in an age of stagnant wages and soaring inequality."
How immigration policy will fit into that agenda remains to be seen. If his November 5 press conference is any indication, President Obama is as committed to expanding the supply of work permits for foreign job seekers as ever.
Immigration adds to the supply of labor, putting downward pressure on wages. That's basic supply and demand. MacGillis doesn't draw any connection between policies to expand the supply of job seekers and the economic concerns of voters. Few in the media do.
Immigration wasn't the most important issue to voters Tuesday night. Certainly not as a stand-alone issue. But immigration isn't a stand-alone issue (something else few in the media recognize). Immigration impacts myriad issues that voters care about, including the economy.
And immigration played directly into the "Who's on your side?" argument of this election. NumbersUSA saturated the battleground states with an ad that asked "Who should get the next U.S. jobs?"
Republicans ran 5,000 more ads on immigration than the Democrats did. And many Republicans successfully used immigration to position themselves as being on the side of wage-earners. Democratic Senators in battleground states weren't in a position to successfully defend themselves against Session-style attacks after voting for the largest increase in U.S. history last year.
JEREMY BECK is the Director of the Media Standards Project for NumbersUSA
Updated: Mon, Nov 24th 2014 @ 6:05pm EST