‘Dems Are Doomed’ Punditry Floods Capitol Hill After Virginia Loss

November 3, 2021
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Like clockwork, the takes are rolling in after Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe lost the Virginia governor’s race to Republican Glenn Youngkin. People’s hypotheses for why McAuliffe lost vary from Youngkin’s dressing up of white grievance to Democrats sucking at messaging to congressional gridlock to historical precedent to schooling amid a pandemic and beyond. But a general conclusion among pundits, bolstered by the extremely tight governor’s race in New Jersey is: this was a bellwether, and Democrats are screwed.

The biggest threat to Democrats in the immediate aftermath of this election is not that these doom-and-gloom predictions about the 2022 midterms will come true. It’s that congressional moderates, imbued with huge power due to slight margins in both chambers, will be shaken by the takes and distance themselves from the party. If they decide to throw up new roadblocks to passing Democrats’ two-pronged legislative agenda, they have the power to sink it — ironically, probably robbing Democrats of their best weapon against the political headwinds, President Biden’s dismal approval numbers and the omnipresent COVID-19 pandemic that threaten their future elections.

Some congressional Democrats are using the loss as further evidence that they need to pass the two bills as soon as possible to staunch the bleeding. Some are hoping that the grim night will light a fire under the slow-moving Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). We’re watching it all.

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