For evidence, there’s the fact that parties in power lose in off-years. That’s been true 4 times in a row. But in 2002 Bush filled people with patriotic fervor. In 1998 Clinton filled them with anger over his impeachment. The real lesson is that political upsets happen when people are motivated. In or out doesn’t matter.
Republicans are in power in most states. Impunity is getting people angry. And when government is doing what you want, you’re as likely to relax Election Day as to crawl over crushed glass to vote.
The 2022 election will be a battle between Google and Facebook.
Barack Obama won because of Google. After holding a highly-publicized meetup with employees in 2007, the Obama campaign was created in Google’s image. It built giant voter databases, donor databases, volunteer databases. Based on those databases, it activated people through email to call on neighbors. It scaled the intimacy of the 2004 Dean campaign, which ran a popular blog but refused to build the database. It worked.
Donald Trump won because of Facebook. His team hacked the system. They used Facebook’s algorithm to gin up anger, to turn the social medium to their side. Anyone who clicked on a pro-Trump story was run down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. They became immune to anything outside the conspiracy. It worked.
Trump ran an identical campaign in 2020. It didn’t work. In 2020 he was the incumbent. In 2020, America was going to hell in a hand cart. Reality triumphed over conspiracy.
Stacey Abrams, who lost Georgia narrowly in 2018 to a Trump-like opponent, drove much of what happened last year. Hers was an inside-outside effort. Inside, her FairFightAction learned how the rules worked and fought to keep them as they were. Outside her databases identified Democrats and activated them.
Abrams was taking advantage of demographic changes that are even more advanced now. Georgia has more than twice the population of neighboring Alabama. It is filled with tech and media workers. It has lots of Asians and Latin American immigrants. Many are second-generation, native born.
Republicans like Brian Kemp are continuing to run a Facebook campaign. He’s using what amounts to free media to scare his base. He’s using the legislature to change the rules on voting. He’s gerrymandering as hard as he can.
But the reality on the ground means there will be a lot more opportunity and, since Democrats are still on the “outs” in the state, there will be anger. Democrats can use Facebook and Twitter, too.
What’s happening in Georgia is happening in Texas, and in Florida. It’s happening in North Carolina and Arizona. It has already happened in Colorado and Virginia. Demographics and the reality created by bad policy choices mean a tide that databases can activate is rising.
I think Google beats Facebook in 2022.