Democrats Ask 'What's Next?' After Republican Congressional Victories

Democratic finger-pointing has begun after the party's loss in Tuesday's closely watched special election in Georgia, and for some members, the blame partly belongs to their House minority leader, Nancy Pelosi.

"If we had any Democrat support, you could have everything", he went on to say. It's time for new leadership.

Democrats are 0 for 4 in congressional elections this year, having earlier lost races in Kansas and Montana. The Carolina outcome was closer than in Georgia but drew little national attention.

The president is speaking at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa the day after Republican Karen Handel's victory in Georgia's 6th Congressional District and Ralph Norman's slim win in SC.

In over a decade leading House Democrats, into the majority and out again, Pelosi has beaten back all comers, including last fall when Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of OH ran against her. Ryan fell well short but garnered dozens of votes, enough to underscore dissatisfaction with Pelosi and with her aging leadership team that has left promising young Democrats with few places to rise.

In the end, if there is one thing that this election was a "referendum" on, it was the election process. But now, after a string of disappointments, those divisions have re-emerged, though Pelosi appears unlikely to face an immediate challenge.

"We're not focusing on the economic messages".

"When I look at the Democratic Party", she added, "I don't see a clear message, and I think a lot of voters in those areas of the country that didn't vote for Hillary Clinton felt the same way". "And I'm not sure that that's there yet". I just feel like we're so disconnected from what real people are thinking about.

"We use electric, we use wind, we use solar, we use coal, we use natural gas, we will use nuclear if the right opportunity presents itself", Trump said. Debbie Dingell of MI. Big donors to the party's congressional campaign committee were also available to Pelosi through her "Speaker's Cabinet" program, which gave them special access to the Democratic leader.

In the Ossoff race, even though the 30-year-old documentary filmmaker and former congressional staffer ended up running a more centrist and not Trump-centric campaign, Republicans were able to zero in on the more than $23 million in donations Ossoff raised, largely from liberal enclaves like California and NY, and make an easy connection to Pelosi. "We have forced the Republicans to spend north of $23 million to defend them".

In Politico, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel advises Democrats to do what he did, as House campaign chairman, in 2006: Recruit candidates with local roots and views suited to local terrain - and with sharp political instincts, which both parties' candidates seemed to lack in the special elections.

And Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, remarked that "we had no business winning those districts" due to their GOP allegiance.

Pelosi insists Democrats still have a shot at winning the majority in next year's midterm elections, saying, "The House remains in play now".

"The president's numbers are in the thirties and our base is energized", she wrote. "This was a district that hadn't gone Democratic since the '70s, and the strides {Ossoff] made are more proof that there are people coming in and participating [and] making a difference".

Congressman Bill Pascrell of New Jersey said, "A loss is a loss is a loss, and there's no excuses".

But prescriptions for how the Democrats should move forward varied.

Several Democratic lawmakers have said Pelosi's position as a prominent face of the Democratic Party will continue to make winning elections hard.

Still, despite the example of Isakson, who now is one of the most beloved figures in Georgia politics and fittingly contributed an endorsement broadcast on Atlanta's airwaves in recent weeks, surely there were moments when Handel thought this day, this victory, would never come for her?

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