Bullish Democrats went into Election Day with the hope of padding their House majority while taking back the Senate for the first time in six years. But they’ve now been left with a smaller House majority, and the likelihood of a Republican-led Senate, dooming their hopes for an ambitious agenda aimed at pushing through their party’s vision for America.
Privately, Democrats are venting, with moderate Democrats accusing liberals for pushing policies easily demonized by Republicans that made it harder to win their races. Liberals argue that it’s the progressive policies that are turning out the base – not incremental approaches favored by centrist members. And many are second-guessing decisions by party leaders, including the failure of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to cut a big-ticket stimulus deal in the weeks before the election.
Democratic leaders are blaming bad polling for their miscalculation in races that leaves their hand in the House weaker, even with the prospects of a Democratic President.
On a tense call Thursday, Pelosi tried to rally her troops by making the argument that Joe Biden, on the brink of the Presidency, had achieved a “mandate” for Democrats – and that House Democratic losses had more to do with lawmakers running in conservative districts where Trump’s base turned out in droves to help reelect the President, according to sources on the call.
“We did not win every battle but we won the war,” Pelosi told her colleagues, sources said.
But some Democrats were angry.
“She never takes any responsibility,” one House Democratic member, asking for anonymity to candidly discuss the powerful speaker, told CNN. “We blew it.”