The DNC produced a memo Wednesday touting the party’s election successes, a rebuttal to the congressional losses that have a few House Democrats taking potshots at each other.
“Under Chair Tom Perez, Democrats rebuilt the DNC, setting the stage to win back the White House and secure victories at every level of the ballot,” it reads, before listing successful operations like the rapid response team and voter protection measures.
The end of the memo lists the party’s success over the last four years, the 36 total House seats gained somewhat masking this cycle’s Democratic seat loss that took many by surprise.
Ultimately, Democrats will hang on to the majority, albeit a slimmer one than they had before. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) has announced that she will not seek reelection to her chairwoman position at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee after just barely managing to hang on to her own seat.
Juiced Republican turnout and under-polled enthusiasm from supporters of President Donald Trump seem to have cost Democrats seats, particularly some of those they flipped in 2018.
“The underestimation of Trump’s support in the polls contributed to our projection of Democratic House gains, while now we know that Republicans are going to gain a fairly significant number of seats,” said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Insider Elections, in an interview with TPM last week.
That influx of enthusiasm, he added, put many of those defending Democrats in a much more vulnerable place than even Republicans knew.
“If Republican polling really showed what we’re seeing happen right now, they would have been talking the fight for the House very differently,” he added.
A few House Democrats have been taking out their frustrations by blaming different wings of the party. During a well-publicized conference call, a yelling Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) pinned her near loss on generally unpopular ideas like “defunding the police.” Afterwards, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Conor Lamb (D-PA) gave dueling New York Times interviews about where the locus of blame is for the under-performance.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), for her part, has tried to calm her caucus, redirecting attention back to the party’s successful toppling of an incumbent President and maintaining of a House majority.
Over in the other chamber, Senate Democrats are nursing some disappointments too after Democrats Cal Cunningham in North Carolina and Sara Gideon in Maine under-performed the polling and lost two of the party’s best pickup opportunities. There though, a possible source of salvation has been driving the conversation: Georgia.
In January, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock will get the chance to take out Sens. David Perdue (R-GA) and Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) in a runoff. If they can win both races, the Senate will be even at 50 seats apiece, giving Democrats the edge with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.
Read the DNC memo here: