Voters Punished Democrats For Manchin-Sinema-Blue Dog Dysfunction, Build Back Worse

I attracted the ire of several friends in the last few months because I couldn't hide my antipathy towards Terry McAuliffe, a corrupt corporate Dem and a glaring symbol of what sucks about the Democratic Party. Nominate candidates like McAuliffe and-- absent a Blue Wave-- get crushed. I'm glad he lost. I wish he would have lost by double digits. I hope he's gone from politics forever. I feel badly that he dragged Hala Ayala and Mark Herring down with him-- and even more badly that the incompetent Virginia Democratic Party is losing control of the House of Delegates. As far as I can tell this morning 3 Democratic incumbents have flat out lost their seats: Chris Hurst (HD-12), Roslyn Tyler (HD-75) and Nancy Guy (HD-83).

Meanwhile, 4 Democratic incumbents are barely ahead with a couple of precincts still counting votes: Wendy Gooditis (HD-10), Kelly Convirs-Fowler (HD-21), Alex Askew (HD-85) and Mike Mullin (HD-93) and three Democratic incumbents, Joshua Cole (HD-28), Lashrecse Aird (HD-63) and Martha Mugler (HD-91) look like they are losing as the last votes are counted in their districts. Tragically, the Democrats' best chance for a pick-up-- open HD-66-- appears to have been foiled when Katie Sponsler, a progressive who was pointedly not supported by the status quo-oriented Virginia Democratic Party, the DLCC, Obama or Biden, was edged by Republican Mike Cherry in a district Biden won handily.

The media is likely to invent a consensus claiming everyone but conservative Democrats for the losses last night. But the confusion and bitterness that swept the electorate over the games Manchin and Sinema and their Blue Dog and New Dem allies in the House is responsible for the debacle. Had the Build Back Better plan been passed, the Democrats would have swept the field last night-- instead of being swept off the field.

Nancy Ohanian also noted Manchin's Rule: "If people want more progressive policies, they should elect more liberals..."

Even HuffPo refused to go there and instead claimed that McAuliffe’s loss is McAuliffe’s and does not belong to one wing of the party. They're wrong, but their "both sides" perspective will be the narrative the "liberal" media propagates: "It only took minutes for Democrats on both sides of the party’s ideological split to begin using McAuliffe’s loss to argue that those arrogant progressives or dastardly moderates were to blame for McAuliffe’s loss-- that either the failure in Congress to pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill or unite around Biden’s broader agenda sapped Democratic energy enough for Youngkin to triumph. McAuliffe has encouraged these arguments, asking before the election for Congress to pass the infrastructure deal as soon as possible. But definitively blaming one side or the other for the delay in advancing Biden’s agenda is a tricky knot to untangle. And even if you can, a well-run gubernatorial campaign should not need to beg for action on federal legislation to win. McAuliffe’s positive agenda was relatively thin. He focused on tying Youngkin to Trump... and on a plan to guarantee paid leave. He did not regularly tout the slew of progressive accomplishments-- marijuana legalization, Medicaid expansion-- that Democrats made over the prior four years under Northam."

More disastrous for Democrats is that they either lost or narrowly won the New Jersey gubernatorial race. At 3am Jack Ciattarelli (R) was leading incumbent Phil Murphy (D) 1,173,558 (49.65%) to 1,172,365 (49.60%) with 88% of precincts reporting. An early morning update shows Essex County absentee ballots helping Murphy edge into a narrow lead:

Around the country, there weren't many places where the Manchin-Sinema-Blue Dog disaster impacted races. Democrats won blue seats and Republicans won red seats. However, in Pennsylvania, Republicans won 2 statewide judicial races that seem to elect the national mood of voters being pissed off at Democrats and eager to punish the party. Kevin Brobson (R) was elected to the state Supreme Court with 52.6% and Megan Sullivan (R) was elected to the Superior Court (55.8%).

In the one congressional race where Blue America had a candidate we had endorsed-- in Florida's 20th district, to replace Alcee Hastings-- our candidate, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick leads Dale Holness, the establishment favorite by 31 votes in the special election primary with a pitifully low turnout (less than 20%). With about 99% of ballots counted, this will be subject to an automatic recount.

One more thing-- the NRCC put out a cheerful press release this morning expanding their target list in light of their big successes last night, "adding thirteen additional Democrats and bringing the total to 70 House Democrats who will be targeted ahead of the 2022 midterms." Look at that list... nearly all Blue Dogs and New Dems. Scratch G.K. Butterfield, since it is hardly a secret that he's likely to retire, especially if the North Carolina legislature goes through with it's decision to promulgate a blatantly illegal redistricting map, knowing it won't be overturned until after the election. So that gives us a list of a dozen:

  • Greg Stanton- New Dem-AZ (D+9)

  • Ed Perlmutter - New Dem-CO (D+7)

  • Joe Courtney- former New Dem-CT (D+2)

  • Darren Soto- New Dem-FL (D+3)- gerrymander likely

  • Sanford Bishop- Blue Dog-GA (D+4)

  • Frank Mrvan- New Dem-IN (D+4)

  • David Trone- New Dem-MD (D+8)

  • Annie Kuster- New Dem-NH (D+1)

  • Teresa Leger-Fernández- D-NM (D+7)

  • Madeleine Dean- New Dem-PA (D+9)

  • Jim Cooper- Blue Dog-TN (D+9)- gerrymander likely

  • Jennifer Wexton- New Dem-VA (D+6)