Why the pandemic may not be 'a game changer' for Republicans or Democrats in 2022

COVID guidelines at polling place.
(Image credit: FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

Although the pandemic has yet to come to an end, its "political shelf life" — and thus sway with voters — may soon be expiring, Politico writes.

In fact, strategists on both sides of the aisle have begun "advising candidates to shift their focus" ahead of midterms away from the pandemic, while political advertising related to COVID has already "fallen off sharply from earlier this year," Politico writes.

"Everybody's just ready to move on," said Julie Roginsky, a former adviser to New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) who is up for re-election on Tuesday. Voters, she said, have "reverted back to the issues they've always cared about, which had been put on pause for the past 18 months."

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For Democrats, improving pandemic conditions coupled with public fatigue "takes away a great issue," argued Ben Tribbett, a party strategist. COVID has become a key tenant of Democrats' platform; without the health crisis, they might lose valuable public sentiment.

And that isn't necessarily good news for Republicans either, Politico writes. For "more than a year," GOP candidates and lawmakers have appealed to their base by lambasting vaccine mandates and shirking health restrictions; in fact, governors like South Dakota's Kristi Noem (R) "have built entire profiles on their anti-restriction policies ahead of potential presidential runs in 2024," Politico notes. As both health measures and public opinion relax, "the intensity of Republican opposition" likely will, as well.

Minnesota Republican strategist Greg Peppin said he has been advising GOPers in his state to find new talking points, considering COVID likely won't "be a game changer" in 2022.

"I just don't think you're going to be able to ride COVID to the governor's mansion," he told Politico. "Most people are over it."

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