Terry McAuliffe may lose the governorship of Virginia on Tuesday, but neither House progressives nor House moderates want to be blamed.
This Race Means Everything
Liberals fear losing the most important race in a region President Biden carried by 10 points last year will do irreversible damage to their very shaky agenda before next year’s midterm elections.
As a result, there have been some strange last-minute maneuverings on Capitol Hill, with important members of the party’s two wings resorting to verbal acrobatics in order to avoid becoming labeled obstructionists.
After shooting up the government’s plan just days ago, leftists are suddenly pressing to approve both pillars of Democrats’ internal political foundation — a joint infrastructure project and welfare spending plan — this week.
After providing more conciliatory signs last week, Sen. Joe Manchin attacked House Democrats on Monday, saying he will not be held “prisoner” to their requests.
The polls are open, Virginia! GO VOTE! 🇺🇸🗳️ pic.twitter.com/HPMa0jvri4
— Glenn Youngkin (@GlennYoungkin) November 2, 2021
If liberals’ election prospects drop this week, no one wants to be viewed as the problem child. “Clearly, demonstrating we can make real progress would’ve been good,” Sen. Mark Warner, a former governor of Virginia, said of the unsuccessful vote effort.
Democrat Sen. Jon Tester was blunter: “We have not yet accomplished anything. That tells you all you need to know about their tactics,” he added of leftists.
“I think Joe made an error,” Tester said of Manchin’s angry press conference on Monday. The notion that progressives would be blamed if McAuliffe lost to Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin didn’t sit well with left-wing leaders, especially given the slew of other problems that dominated the campaign.
Democrats Avoid the Hot Topics
“I’ve seen all of Terry McAuliffe’s attack advertisements, not one of them mentions the [economic stimulus package] failing to pass.”
“They’ve always been about the other items,” Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal told journalists on Monday, reflecting a view shared by the majority of House liberals.
Today is the day Glenn Youngkin wins the Virginia Governor race but he needs you to get out and vote if you’re in VA. No excuses today. Your country needs you. Try to get 3 other people out today!!
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) November 2, 2021
Liberals in the House claim their change in posture is due more to the fact Democrat politicians issued long-awaited legislation text this week — albeit they did so before the canceled vote — and started moving toward discussions of both Biden’s goals.
However, when Politico revealed Jayapal helped torpedo their leadership’s infrastructure vote plan last week, numerous Democrats from other sections of the caucus quietly voiced their anger with liberals Monday night.
What many anticipated would be a chance to shift the narrative heading into the weekend instead resulted in a deluge of publicity about Democrats’ inability to agree.
For weeks, Democrats’ internal fighting has overtaken national discourse as centrists and radicals squabble over the welfare spending plan and the scheduling of a House vote.
The findings have been devastating to Biden’s approval rating and voter faith in the Democrat Party, especially as the party prepares for a crucial gubernatorial election that many consider as a barometer for the party’s fate next year.