Meet The Press panel slams Democrat messages on ‘culture wars’: ‘Real problem for Democrats’ at halftime

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A Meet The Press panel on Sunday criticized Democrats’ message on the “culture wars,” with one panelist saying it was a “real problem” for Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.

Kimberly Atkins Stohr, senior opinion writer at the Boston Globe, Anna Palmer, NBC News contributor and CEO of Punchbowl News, NBC News correspondent Josh Lederman, and former Florida Republican Representative Carlos Curbelo, joined presenter Chuck Todd, to discuss a wide range of issues that they believe Democrats are not reaching their base well.

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Todd first addressed Florida, where he said it was “ground zero” for the debate over the Parents’ Rights in Education Act, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” law. Todd noted that other states, such as Texas and Alabama, created their own versions of the legislation.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site Wednesday, August 18, 2021, in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
(AP Photo/Marta Lavandi)

Curbelo argued that Republicans would win the culture wars.

“That’s the way it is,” said the former congressman. “You look at Defund the Police, you look at Defund ICE. Now in Florida they have this parental empowerment bill, opponents call it the Don’t Say Gay Bill.”

He added that the Democrats were lured by the Republicans to “take the position that students learning to draw, read and write should be taught about sex” and about “gender identity,” and that the party “has been consistent, or at least that way was perceived to be on the wrong side of the issue.”

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“This bill basically has about 50/50 support. It’s not critical in any way,” Todd said.

Stohr said voting on the bill was everywhere, noting that Republicans saw Gov. Glen Youngkin’s win in Virginia and said, “Take this playbook” and run with it.

Glenn Youngkin, Gov. of Virginia, works in the old governor's office in the US Capitol on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 in Richmond, Virginia.

Glenn Youngkin, Gov. of Virginia, works in the old governor’s office in the US Capitol on Wednesday, March 2, 2022 in Richmond, Virginia.
((AP Photo/Steve Helber))

She claimed that Democrats are “legally” on the winning side of the issue when it comes to “pitting DeSantis against Disney.”

“If a government penalizes someone for what they say, that’s anti-First Amendment,” she said.

“This is a big government telling people what to do,” Todd added.

Palmer argued Democrats were “on their heels when it came to schools and COVID.” She said Democrats still haven’t figured out how to communicate on the two issues.

Lederman said Democrats have allowed Republicans to define their message and that is reflected in their fight over Florida’s education law.

“If you were to ask the average parent of a first grader, would you want your child to be taught about sex in first grade? Most parents would probably say, ‘Eh, probably not.’ But if you ask if it’s okay for your child to read a book about Peter the Penguin, who has two penguin dads, you won’t get the same kind of response on so many of these cultural issues,” he said.

Second graders listen to a lesson at Paw Paw Elementary School on Thursday, December 2, 2021 in Paw Paw, Michigan.

Second graders listen to a lesson at Paw Paw Elementary School on Thursday, December 2, 2021 in Paw Paw, Michigan.
(AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

Todd asked the panel whether the Supreme Court ruled Roe v. Wade would annul if this would “kill” the culture war.

Palmer predicted that Democrats would try to get their base to the ballot box “if it falls away,” but that the party has so far failed to act on several grassroots issues, including voting rights and immigration.

“There’s a real problem for Democrats in the midterms,” ​​she said.

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told Fox News Sunday that the Democrats are heading for a “pretty good win” in this election

McConnell said President Biden’s policies “didn’t work” and that the withdrawal from Afghanistan “has become something of a metaphor for the incompetence that has been on full display during this administration.”

“None of the strategies they followed worked well,” he said.

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