As Democrats struggle to deal with last night’s loss in a special election in Georgia, different elements within the party are pointing to different problems. Earlier today Allahpundit wrote about Senator Murphy’s concern that all the talk about Russia and collusion was creating a big distraction for Democrats, one that was not helping them win elections. They NY Times published a story today focusing on another reaction to the loss. Some Democrats think it’s time to take a second look at the wisdom of sticking with Nancy Pelosi:
Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio, who has been a vocal critic of his party’s overarching political strategy, said Democrats needed to recognize that they were “toxic” in huge parts of the country.
“Our brand is worse than Trump,” said Mr. Ryan, who urged Democrats to make forging a clear economic agenda an urgent priority. “We can’t just run against Trump.”
Mr. Ryan, who tried to unseat Ms. Pelosi, Democrat of California, as House minority leader after the November elections, said she remained a political drag on other Democrats. Ms. Handel and Republican outside groups tied Mr. Ossoff to Ms. Pelosi in campaign events and television ads, casting him as a puppet for what they described as her liberal agenda and “San Francisco values.”
“They’re still running against her and still winning races, and it’s still a problem,” Mr. Ryan said.
Democratic strategist Lachlan McIntosh tells the Times, “They can’t ignore how very unpopular their leadership is with many voters. It’s not fair or justified, but it’s real.” The Associated Press reports Tim Ryan is not the only Democrat who feels a leadership change may be in order:
“We as Democrats have to come to terms with the fact that we lost again,” said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass. “Personally I think it’s time for a new generation of leadership in the party.”
Of course, there was a reason why it was so easy to tie Jon Ossoff to Nancy Pelosi in this race. It’s because so much of Ossoff’s funding came from California and New York. As the Times pointed out in a story yesterday, only 14% of Ossoff’s fundraising came from Georgia. And yet, without that additional funding from liberal bastions, it seems unlikely Ossoff would have been as close as he was.
Even as some more moderate members of the party are turning on the party’s image and leadership, the progressive wing of the party is arguing what is needed are more populist candidates like Bernie Sanders. The underlying divide we saw during the 2016 campaign has never healed and there’s no reason to think it will before 2018. But you have to think that if House Democrats fail to take the House next year there will be more of them calling for a change at the top.
Here’s one of Karen Handel’s ads which connects her opponent to Nancy Pelosi and Bernie Sanders.