The Democrats begin turning on each other
Democrats lost two special congressional elections in Georgia and South Carolina. While they exceeded their past vote totals in those districts, they still lost. And that has the long knives coming out for some in the Democratic leadership:
Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), who unsuccessfully challenged Pelosi in House leadership elections held after the November election, said that even talented candidates cannot overcome “the toxicity of the national Democratic brand.”
“It makes it a heck of a lot harder,” he said of Pelosi’s prominent place in GOP ads. “That approach still has a little bit of punch to it. It still moves voters.”
Corry Bliss, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, a Republican super PAC that spent $7 million on the Georgia race, agreed.
“I don’t know what we’d do without Pelosi,” he said Wednesday. “I hope she never retires. Another Democratic leader would not start with that level of name recognition.”
Inside a House Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill, Pelosi labeled the loss as “clearly a setback,” according to a person in the room who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe a private meeting.
We're not convinced Democratic members of Congress are ready to give Pelosi the boot just yet (mainly because Democrats have tried to oust her before, and failed at that, too). However, they got their hopes up (and spent oceans of cash) to make a statement against the President. They failed. So it's only natural that when those high expectations come crashing down, recriminations and blame will follow. We especially liked this item:
“Look, we need to win. Everything else is bulls---,” said Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.), who led an independent examination of the House Democratic performance in 2016. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Ryan said he wanted to hear more about the party’s efforts to hone an economic message and less about how close Democrats came to winning.
“I come out of the sports world, and it’s like, you either win or you lose, you know?” he said. “I am not pleased with a conversation going along the lines of, ‘Well, we had a moral victory.’ I don’t like moral victories. I like victories.”
An old axiom of politics is never to get in the way of an opponent who is self destructing. The Demcorats may be pulling their hair out right now, and searching for scapegoats. Let them go right ahead and do it.
For Republicans, the message is a little different: they've won all the special congressional races so far, but had to work much harder, and spend more money than usual, to do so. Voters expect the GOP to enact a reformist agenda. Failure to do so could just as easily turn those special election wins into 2018 losses. Bottom line: the GOP better get cracking.