House Democrats Assess Losses, Speaker Pelosi, Each Other in Post-Election Caucus Call

Democrat's 'big win' expectations come crashing down as House Republicans win back seats

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Texas Insider Report) — The marathon call ran three hours, with some 30 Democrat House members expressing their views – some were even gently critical of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Several said the “Socialist-Democrat” label in particular cost lawmakers their seats in Florida, Oklahoma, New Mexico and South Carolina, where the party's socialist ideologies were soundly rejected.

Rather than bolstering their majority as planned, Democrats saw numerous House freshman elected during the 2018 mid-terms fall in defeat. They also failed to add to their ranks as sitting Republicans fended off one Democrat challenger after another.
 
If “we are going to run on 'Medicare for All,' 'Defunding the Police,' and 'Socialized Medicine,' we’re not going to win,” said House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC).

Lawmakers unloaded on Pelosi and other House leaders during a Democrat Caucus conference call Thursday – citing the “defund the police” and party support of ideas like "Democrat-Socialism," among others.

Democrats were even criticized for being insufficiently supportive of Israel during this year's campaign, and for backing liberal proposals to help the nation's Palestinian emenies.
 
“I think that the Democratic party clearly needs to push that we are not supportive of ideas like socialism, defunding the police, or anti-Semitism,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL,) who serves as co-chair of the House’s centrist Blue Dog Coalition.
 
“This playing footsies with socialism is not going to win over most of America," said Murphy, emphasizing that Pelosi's current House leadership team was putting “lipstick on a pig” by claiming success in the election's overall outcome.

"There’s no amount of lipstick that can cover up the fact that these far left ideas are costing us,” she said.

As their majority margin shrunk in the House – defying all predictions for double-digit gains – Democrats also cast blame on their election message, ground game, and leadership under Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
 
  • They failed to fight back when Republicans labeled them “socialists” aligned with the party’s liberal firebrands.
  • They lost Latino & Black voters all across the nation, as well as white, working class men.
  • They didn’t knock on doors to meet voters, and focused instead on phone calls, digital outreach and TV ad campaigning during the pandemic.
  • They focused too narrowly on health care, when voters were also worried about the economy.
  • They obstructed passage of additional CoronaVirus aid when Americans needed help most.
And perhaps most importantly, Democrats are going to have to come to grips with the fact that they still have a problem understanding – and winning over – the middle-class, hard-working Trump voter.

On top of that, Republicans defeated Democrats by filling many of those seats with more women and minority candidates than ever.

There were plenty of complaints to go around – over faulty polling, Republican attack ads, and the fact that expectations had been raised sky high – making the setbacks all the more disorienting.

Asked what went wrong, one Democrat strategist who was granted anonymity to run through the list of Demmocrat shortcomings said: “All of the above.” With the onslaught of campaign cash flowing to Democrats, money was the one thing they had on their side. But money alone was not enough.

Key Democrats said that the GOP's attacks against them as wild-eyed “socialists” were effective, as were some of the party’s most liberal proposals.

“Is there something that we’re missing about these Trump voters?" asked Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), a member of the centrist House New Democrat Coalition. “We certainly saw a lot of Trump voters show up,” Bera said.

Pelosi tried to remind participants that their Democrat nominee, Joe Biden, may be on the verge of replacing President Trump in the White House, and that Democrats will keep their House majority.

“We did not win every battle, but we did win the war,” Pelosi said.
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