By Eddie Weissfeld
This election cycle has been one like we have never seen before. A fiery Presidential election in which a sitting president openly undermines the democratic process in order to somehow retain power, the tumultuous transition of power that had sat at a standstill for weeks, a continuing global pandemic that infects more and more people every day, and a runoff election for a senate seat in a major swing state that could determine how the next four years of the administration will run. To put a cherry on top of it all, the House Democrats are enthralled in blame battle while their majority lead hemorrhages.
The newscycle following the election has been jam packed with enough political issues that one could go mad trying to follow it all. But in the end, it seems as if the Democratic party will pull away from this past election with a lot of hope. They will have a Democrat in the Oval Office, they could possibly take control of the Senate and they retained control of the House.
That feeling of hope could be short lived, however, if one thing is not taken care of right away. Their control over the majority of the House is waning, and if they don’t stop the bleeding fast it is possible that they could lose control of Congress entirely.
The 2020 election did not go as planned for the House Democrats. The party held a large majority control over the House following the midterm elections in 2018, and with all trends leaning their party’s way throughout the 2020 presidential election, they were planning on growing that majority even more in the lower House of Congress. That did not happen.
So far, according to the New York Times, the GOP has been able to flip 11 seats in the House, mostly in states that were represented by moderate Democrats. The Democrats are sitting at a majority control of 222 seats over the Republicans 205, with 8 seats still up to be officially accounted for.
Following the underwhelming performance by the House Democrats in the election there was a lot of finger pointing within the members of the party. Moderate Democratic representatives like Abigail Spanberge of Virginia and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania who both won their reelection this year by thin margins claim that the reason so many moderate Democrats lost their seats is due to the parties affiliation with left-wing activism that puts their constituency, which leans a lot more center of line, at unease.
They claim issues like the Black Lives Matter movement, defunding the police, the growing support of democratic socialism, and the Green New Deal have cost a lot of seats for moderate members who were up for reelection. Conor Lamb clarified this sentiment in an interview with Vox, “People want to know, ‘What are you going to do for me?’ The message I gave directly to some of vice president [Biden’s] top advisers is, you have to understand that nothing has replaced a coal or steel job like a natural gas job. Don’t tell us about green energy jobs that are abstract; they’re just not here, and they haven’t been here for a long time.”
Progressive members like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York argue that the issue lies in the poor organization of some moderate representatives campaigns for reelection, pointing out in an interview on the New York Time’s ‘The Daily’ podcast that Conor Lamb only spent around two thousand dollars on Facebook advertising leading up to the election. In the online world that we all live in today, one that the GOP has fully embraced as a successful campaigning tactic, a lack of online presence could potentially be a reason for such a close election for Lamb in his reelection.
Progressives also point out that it is the left-leaning policies that helped flip key swing states like Georgia, Michigan, and Pennsylvania in the 2020 election. The progressive members urge moderate members not to look away from the energized younger and more diverse members of the party who largely cling to the left-leaning policies. This can be backed up by a large Black voter turnout in both urban and suburban areas within those key swing states.
No matter who is to blame for the Democratic party’s poor election results in the House in 2020, there is one thing that is unavoidable. The 2022 midterm elections. Democrats in the House need to quickly come to a compromise if they have any hope at stopping the GOP from taking majority control in the lower House. They are bleeding out, and they need to figure out how to stop it before it is too late for them.