At least one Democratic strategist thinks it’s “too late” for the party to make a comeback in the eyes of the American public ahead of the 2022 midterms.
“We’re f***ed,” the strategist told Politico.
“Worse than expected”
Writing Tuesday, Politico’s David Siders said Democrats got a rude wake-up call in Virginia earlier this month, when Republican Glenn Youngkin eked out a win over opponent Terry McAuliffe, a seasoned politician who was widely expected to win handily.
“The problems cut far deeper than the failings of their gubernatorial nominee, Terry McAuliffe, or President Joe Biden’s flagging approval ratings,” Siders reported. “Rather,” polling and focus groups suggested “the Democratic Party’s entire brand was a wreck.”
A left-leaning group called Third Way found in its polling that “voters couldn’t name anything that Democrats had done, except a few who said we passed the infrastructure bill,” Siders reported.
Third Way also said that most “could not articulate what Democrats stand for. They could also not say what they are doing in Washington, besides fighting,” the group said.
Notably, the group only spoke with “people who voted for Biden,” Siders said. He added:
Less than a year ahead of midterm elections, in which even Democrats widely expect they will lose the House and, possibly, the Senate, the party is confronting an identity crisis. It isn’t just Biden’s cratering public approval ratings, inflation, or the precedent that the party in power typically loses seats in a president’s first midterm.
In addition to grappling with the reality that Americans just aren’t buying what they’re selling, Democrats will also have to contend in 2022 with a number of retirements that threaten to upend their current — yet slim — majorities in Congress.
Among the big names planning to retire after their current term, according to The Hill, are Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), and Ron Kind (D-WI). All, The Hill said, “represent districts that Republicans are targeting in 2022.”
Democrat strategist Antjuan Seawright sought to brush off concerns about the retirements in a talk with The Hill. “These things are kind of expected,” he said.
“Politics is a game of transitions. I think as the country changes, as our party evolves, I think [retirements] will be reflective of that change,” Seawright added. “It makes room for new leadership. It also makes room for new growth.”
But will that “new leadership” be Democratic? It seems not everyone is quite so confident.