Even if Democrat Jon Ossoff was able to win the Georgia special election over Republican Karen Handel, it wouldn’t have really been a win. A shot of enthusiasm to the Democratic party, yes—but it’s not a win that the so-called Resistance will be able to duplicate across the country. Certainly it won’t be enough to retake the House. On MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Monday, the panel, which included The Washington Post’s Robert Costa, The New York Times’ Nick Confessore, and former White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest, all acknowledged the obstacles facing the Democratic Party of the 2018 midterms, while throwing cold water on the notion that an Ossoff win would really mean anything. It’s a battle that would’ve been won, but it won’t win the war.
Confessore noted that the really winning message for Democrats in areas that they need to win in order to retake the House is a ‘getting things done’ message, not one that read ‘suck it, Trump.’ After the Peach State beat down, Democrats will still need to find a trove of solid candidates and they don’t have them.
“There’s all this money flowing into these races, but they still can’t find the best candidates for a lot of these districts. If they can’t recruit the best candidates, they can’t retake the House,” said Confessore.
Co-host Scarborough made a good point about what Barack Obama said during his political career about red districts. He might not have won them, but he went into these areas, talked to its residents, and lost them by, in Scarborough’s words, 25 points instead of 50. That 25-point difference between total destruction and just a really bloody beating in deep red America, coupled with areas that Obama was heavily favored to win—the cities—is enough to a) win an election; and b) prevent the GOP from doing what they did to Clinton in 2016: run up the score with working class Americans. He also said that if there was a business-minded Democrat who spoke about infrastructure, spoke about tax cuts for small businesses, knows the people from being active in the community, like being part of a church or a chamber of commerce chapter, and eschews the narrative peddled by D.C. Democrats—the party could be in much better shape. The Democratic National Committee isn’t taking that line though; they’d rather use strong language while bashing Trump.
Yet, Earnest said that they’re trying, while noting that an Ossoff win would’ve boosted Democratic recruitments efforts.
Rays of hope, right? Enter Mr. Costa with the cold water, while once again; noting the importance of state and local races that Democrats don’t seem to really understand is the key to rebuilding a political talent pool.
Here’s the challenge for Democrats and Ossoff is so revealing of the challenge. In 2010 Democrats were wiped out not only of the U.S. House, but of state legislatures across the country. And that Democratic farm team that, seven years on, could have been there to have these candidates who are state reps and state senators, it’s not there. It was depleted in 2010. That’s why they don’t really have the lawmakers in states to turn to at a potential wave election like this.”
Costa did note that Democratic recruitment of veterans helped them retake the House in 2006; Scarborough was really laying his admiration of Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) pretty thick. Moulton is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Still, it shows that this was merely a battle. The war has yet to be won and Democrats don’t have a full arsenal for an offensive yet.
On Monday, former White House Chief of Staff and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said that there are 1,000 fewer Democrats in office than in 2008-09. And it seems it will remain that way.