In a departure from typical, "time-honored" strategy, Republicans are seemingly gearing up for a 2022 midterm election in which the Democratic president is not framed as the main villain, according to more than 25 GOP strategists and party officials interviewed by Politico. Instead, the GOP reportedly plans to group President Biden in with "more polarizing figures" — like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (R-N.Y.)
This shift in game plan and messaging is attributed most notably to Biden's current classification as a "less-than-ideal foil," Politico writes.
The right has long struggled to effectively demonize the president — throughout the election, attempts to "depict him as mentally unfit or corrupt" fell mostly "flat," Politico writes.
Not to mention Biden is, well...a bit boring. "There are bigger bogeymen," said Republican strategist John Thomas, "We don't need [Biden] as our No. 1 foil" in 2022. Said another strategist to Politico: "It's less about vilifying one person." Notably, the president is already absent from ads seeking to attack "vulnerable" Senate Democrats, like Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.).
The break in Obama and Trump era midterm strategy may also be indicative of a GOP "still preoccupied with their own intra-party skirmishes." Said Republican ad maker Fred Davis to Politico: "The main problem is it's Biden and the Democrats versus two Republican parties."
There remains plenty of time for the president's reputation (and otherwise "sticky" approval rating) to deteriorate — but still, even the inevitable attacks on Biden himself are expected to focus more "on policy than personality." For now, the Republican party's reported disorganization and reluctance to "cast" the president as the "central character" should be considered a "rare bright spot" for Democrats in an "otherwise rough midterm landscape."
Read more at Politico.