The House representative in charge of the Democrats’ reelection committee said he believes recent losses incurred by his party are due to messaging—namely from President Joe Biden.
Last week, historically blue state Virginia elected its first Republican governor in more than a decade after GOP candidate Glenn Youngkin defeated former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Democrat with deep ties to former President Bill Clinton, despite Biden having won the state by about 10 percentage points last November. Other than Youngkin’s upset win, Republicans were able to make inroads in suburban areas in New Jersey and Long Island, New York.
“The results in Virginia and elsewhere ought to be a wake-up call that we’re not getting the job done on messaging. It starts with the president,” Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, told The New York Times.
For Democrats, he argued, “the No. 1 thing is to grow the economy and end the pandemic. But close behind that is telling people what you’ve done.”
“I think it’s a fair criticism to say we haven’t done enough of that, and I think the White House needs to do more. I don’t think the president has been served well in this regard. It needs to happen right away,” Maloney remarked.
Some analysts said that after Youngkin’s win, it was in part due to a failed Democrat strategy to tie Youngkin to former President Donald Trump. But Maloney implied Democrats will still try to connect candidates to Trump in competitive seats.
“The competitive congressional districts are in largely suburban swing areas, and in those areas, Glenn Youngkin underperformed Mitt Romney. I think it’s more complicated than people are saying,” he said. Democrats believe Trump to be “a tremendous liability with suburban swing voters,” Maloney said before suggesting that Democrats will continue to push a narrative that Trump and Republicans were responsible for the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
It comes as longtime Democratic strategist James Carville, a former Clinton adviser, blamed his party’s Nov. 2 losses on “stupid wokeness” during an interview with PBS before calling on Democrats and the Biden administration to pull back from the leftist rhetoric.
“What went wrong is just stupid wokeness. Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey,” he said. “Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Wash. I mean, this ‘defund the police’ lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools. I mean that—people see that,” he continued, referring to Republican wins in those areas.
But Maloney told the NY Times he believes Carville is making a “false choice” between “fighting for racial justice and public safety,” saying that “we can do both,” without elaborating how.