The Democrats still don't know how to counter Donald Trump
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 22, 2017,
Jun 22, 2017, 2:38
Tuesday night's outcome in a special House race in Georgia was a triumph for the GOP, and the most recent and devastating illustration of the Democrats' problems - from a weak bench and recruiting problems to divisions about what the party stands for today.
The political battle in the peach state was the most expensive U.S. House race ever, at more than $55 million.
But he also said that Democrats need to promote a "bold, progressive vision" and that Ossoff "missed an opportunity to do that".
In April, he narrowly failed to win the 50 percent needed to secure outright victory in a first round, forcing the run-off against Ms Handel.
The political number crunchers have produced a variety of analyses of the results in the recent special elections in Kansas, Montana, Georgia and SC in an attempt to quantify the two parties' strength in the Trump era. Rep. Joe Crowley of NY, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, said that there are 71 districts that will be more favorable for Democrats to contest than the one in Georgia. But the fact they turned it into a tight contest suggests President Trump is energising their voters. "The Ossoff district wasn't one of them". When Ossoff started the race he channeled national anger at the president before pivoting away from Trump and focusing on local politics. The Georgia race was their best shot to do that, and they fell just short.
Overall, the special House elections held since Trump's inauguration have been closer than Republicans would've expected in the traditionally right-leaning districts.
Her party shed 63 House seats when she was majority leader in 2010 and lost more than 900 races at the state level.
The two Republican victories last night come as the latest set of close but no cigar losses for Democrats in special elections this year.
"We showed the world that in places where no one thought it was even possible to fight, we could fight", Ossoff told a gathering of disappointed supporters.
While Ossoff's donors and phone bankers swarmed the district with a wave of anti-Trump enthusiasm, Ossoff himself focused like a laser beam on the economy, didn't dwell on Trump's personal foibles or alleged Russian collision, and laid out a clear contrast on creating jobs, raising wages (he supports raising the minimum wage; Handel doesn't) and women's health (Ossoff supports Planned Parenthood; Handel tried to defund it while she worked at the Komen Foundation and now as a candidate). She rarely mentioned the administration, despite holding a closed-door fundraiser with the president earlier this spring.
"Laughing my #Ossoff", she added later, making a play on a popular pre-election catchphrase among Democrats that instructed voters to "Vote your Ossoff".
As the results rolled in Tuesday, AshLee Strong, spokeswoman to House Speaker Paul Ryan, mused over Twitter, "Remember when they told us we'd be punished in the special elexs for following through on our promise to #RepealAndReplace #obamacare?" But neither made it a major issue in the contest.