Democrats singled out each other after the party suffered a difficult loss in the Virginia gubernatorial race and an uncomfortable near miss in New Jersey.
For some Democrats, the results elicited a sense of deja vu, prompting memories of the 2009 Virginia governor’s race and the “beating,” as before. President ObamaBarack Hussein Obama LIVE COVERAGE: Youngkin Wins Virginia; New Jersey gubernatorial race in tie Kal Penn says he was mocked by the Obamas for running for a White House job via the website Biden’s Policies Are Creating Jobs – For Robots MORE dubbed, a year later, in the 2010 midterm elections.
Many expressed frustration at the stalemate on Capitol Hill. Terry McAuliffe, the losing Democrat in Virginia, and his allies had lobbied for the House to pass a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed by the Senate months ago, believing it would help him.
But that bill was stuck in a showdown between centrists and moderates over Biden’s broader agenda.
“Where is the party? Chaos again, ”said one of the top Democratic strategists, as the votes were still being counted in the New Jersey race. “The Democratic Party leadership seems to revel in its deafness that constantly ignores voters’ concerns, and whose condescending elitist rhetoric and messages are setting the party up for a catastrophic outcome in 2022 and 2024.”
Tuesday night’s result was a grim and painful reality check for some Democrats who say the party has yet to energize the grassroots or speak to right-wing voters while adequately communicating a strong message to the electorate. A number said President BidenJoe Biden Five Takeaways from a Bleak Night for Democrats Youngkin Wins Virginia Governor’s Race Michelle Wu Chosen as Boston’s First Mayor MORE He had to share the blame.
“It’s more of a failure of the party and the way we run the campaigns as a whole,” said Democratic strategist Chuck Rocha, who served as senior adviser on the Senate presidential campaign. Bernie sandersBernie SandersShontel Brown wins special election to replace Marcia Fudge in Ohio House district Democrats give Manchin warning about lack of progress on spending bill LIVE COVERAGE: Youngkin wins in Virginia ; New Jersey gubernatorial race in a tie MORE (I-Vt.) “But I would put 70 percent of the blame on Congress and 30 percent on Biden.
“Biden has delivered, but the Democrats have not done a good job defending what we have accomplished and, in the case of Congress, they have done nothing,” Rocha added.
Earlier this year, Democrats in Congress approved Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus bailout plan, which contained money for stimulus checks that were widely popular with the electorate.
But even though the economy has partially recovered, voters are in a bad mood from rising gasoline prices, inflation, a shortage of goods and the long-running pandemic.
Several Democrats aligned with the White House argue that the elections should serve as an impetus for the party to stop arguing and quickly pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and Biden’s largest social and climate policy measure to demonstrate to the voters who can comply.
“We need to be honest about where the president’s numbers are now and the challenges we face heading into the midterm elections. We need to pass the infrastructure and Build Back Better laws immediately and start selling them, ”said Democratic strategist Josh Schwerin.
“And we have to work visibly to solve supply chain and inflation problems, just as we continue to do with covid. Voters think that we are not doing anything with our majority and we have to change that. Nor can we continue to lose rural areas 85-15 and hope to win elections. Something must change ”, he added.
Some progressives enraged moderates by delaying negotiations on Biden’s largest spending package. Meanwhile, the centrist senator. Joe manchinJoe ManchinOvernight Energy & Environment – Presented by the American Petroleum Institute – Biden seeks to tackle methane Biden rallies nations to reduce methane emissions Democrats give Manchin warning about lack of progress on spending bill MORE (DW.Va.) argued Wednesday that the Republican victories validated their concerns about moving too fast.
The New York Times reported that the Virginia Democratic Party chairwoman criticized Democrats in Washington for failing to pass legislation to help working families, while a senior Biden adviser rejected the Democratic Governors Association’s talking points that they cited Biden’s low popularity.
No one other than the candidates themselves wanted to see resounding Democratic victories in Virginia and New Jersey more than Biden. He even predicted a McAuliffe win on Monday.
When asked about his reaction to the results, Biden on Wednesday underscored the need to pass his national agenda, arguing that it would alleviate the problems facing the public. Biden said he wished his agenda had been approved before voters went to the polls on Tuesday, but said he wasn’t sure it would have made a difference to the bottom line in Virginia.
“People want us to get things done,” Biden said. “And that’s why I keep pushing hard for the Democratic Party to move forward and pass my infrastructure bill and my Build Back Better bill.”
Inside the White House on Wednesday, there was also a sense of frustration. An advisor acknowledged the disappointment. “We know that people will say that it is our fault, but that could not be further from the truth,” said the advisor.
White House officials believe Tuesday’s results should heighten the urgency of passing Biden’s agenda.
Biden raised the stakes for last week’s election during a closed-door meeting with House Democrats.
“We urgently need a vote on these two measures,” Biden said. “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the House and Senate majorities and my presidency will be determined by what happens next week.”
Matt Bennett, executive vice president of public affairs for the Third Way Center Democratic think tank, said the results in both Virginia and New Jersey should serve as an “important wake-up call” for Democrats to approve Biden’s agenda and communicate how effectively it helps the middle class Americans.
“People are just angry and unhappy and they take it out on the party in power, and that’s what they did,” Bennett said. “If we can’t address that, then we are going to have serious problems in the midterm elections.”