"The problem is reality"

“The problem is not messaging — the problem is reality,” said Representative Ritchie Torres, Democrat of New York, citing inflation as the “greatest obstacle to retaining the majority.”

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The greatest hope for Democrats appears to be potential Republican acts of self-sabotage: the party nominating outside-the-mainstream candidates or failing to coalesce after divisive primaries.

In Washington, much of the Biden agenda is frozen in a congressional morass. The party’s left wing and centrists are busily blaming each other for the state of affairs and clashing over what to do next, with student loan forgiveness emerging as one divisive flashpoint.

Inside the White House, whose political operation has been a subject of quiet griping in some corners for months, a furious effort is afoot to reframe the 2022 elections as a choice between the two parties, rather than a referendum on Democratic rule. Anita Dunn, an aggressive operator and longtime Biden adviser, has rejoined the administration to sharpen its messaging.

“The Democratic base is quite demoralized at this moment,” Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, one of the party’s leading progressive voices, put it bluntly.

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