But moderating their views for suburban moderates and their votes doesn’t seem to be a priority for an increasingly large swath of the Republican party.
An added safety net for Republicans, in competitive districts and states everywhere, is that they’re not alone in failing to understand that whipping up the base isn’t enough to win. That there aren’t enough loyalists in either camp to get their man or woman over the top when enrollments or voting patterns are fairly even.
In throwing political and ideological red meat to rabid supporters — whether it’s “stolen election” conspiracy theories or abortion restrictions on the right and “defunding” law enforcement and promoting “socialism” on the left — Republicans and Democrats alike are limiting the chances of building bridges to the moderate suburbs from their urban and rural bases.
Overdoing it on extreme positions even risks alienating members of their own party.
In the upcoming special session of Congress, while Republicans need to be careful about being opposed to funding many programs and projects that the majority of independent suburban swing voters want, Democrats also must be mindful of being seen as turning the infrastructure and social spending bills into an endless progressive wish list. Suburbanites respond poorly to bloated spending bills, which they fear will lead to higher taxes.
Sans expletives, Podesta is sounding a warning that isn’t all that different than Barr’s.
Even the perception of compromise would go a long way to assuring middle-of-the-road voters, a decisive number of whom live in the suburbs.
Whether it’s because they don’t understand the power of the suburbs, or the sensibilities of its voters — or whether they simply don’t care because they run in deep red or blue districts — politicians who stray too far from the suburban middle put the future of their parties in peril.
Just as Barr warned the now ex-president.