Ex-Clinton strategist: Va. results show Democrats 'have gone too far to the left on key issues for educated suburban voters'
Category: News & PoliticsVia: texan1211 • 3 weeks ago • 2 comments
By: Mychael Schnell (MSN)
An ex-strategist for former President Clinton said the results of the Virginia gubernatorial race show that Democrats "have gone too far to the left on key issues for educated suburban voters."
Mark Penn, who served as a former adviser and pollster for President Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, penned a New York Times op-ed with Andrew Stein, a former president of the New York City Council, on Monday, contending that lessons can be learned from the Democrats' defeat in Virginia and near-loss in New Jersey's gubernatorial election.
They pointed to Democrat Terry McAuliffe's loss in the commonwealth to Republican Glenn Youngkin by roughly 68,000 votes, contending that the former Virginia governor fell short of victory because his campaign bent too far left.
"The flight from the Democrats was disproportionately in the suburbs, and the idea that these home-owning, child-rearing, taxpaying voters just want more progressive candidates is not a sustainable one," Penn and Stein wrote.
Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy bested Republican Jack Cittarelli by around 65,000 votes, which was also far closer than experts expected the race to be.
Penn's op-ed comes as Democrats are starting to look ahead to the 2022 midterm elections now that this month's off-year elections are in the rearview mirror. Democrats are looking to retain control of the House and Senate, but fears are rising after the party's poor performance in last week's races, and as President Biden's poll numbers continue to sink.
The two men wrote that President Biden was nominated by the Democratic Party because he was a moderate compared to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), but argued that he is caving to progressive lawmakers which is contributing to sagging poll numbers.
They argued that moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the two lawmakers who have held up negotiations on the party's social spending package, actually represent the majority of the Democratic Party, even though they are often perceived to be the outliers.
The two noted that the majority of Democrats identify as conservatives or moderates and that a significant percentage of the party supports efforts from moderates to rein in the massive spending package.
They also argued that Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) "represent areas ideologically far from the mainstream of America."
While Biden's presidency is nearing its one-year mark, the two men said there is still time for the administration to shift its trajectory toward the ideological center, just as Penn's former boss did following the 1994 midterm elections.
Clinton that year "reoriented his administration to the center and saved his presidency," the two men wrote, adding that Biden should "follow his lead, listen to centrists, push back on the left and reorient his policies to address the mounting economic issues people are facing."
That strategy, they said, would include bolstering the border, slowing the transition to fossil fuels, addressing "bread-and-butter economic issues" like prices of gas and groceries and assisting supply chain issues.
They said the strategy imposed by McAuliffe in Virginia - consistently linking Trump to the Republican candidate when the former president is not on the ballot - is "no longer a viable campaign strategy."
"Soccer moms, who largely despised Mr. Trump, want a better education for their kids and safer streets; they don't see the ghost of Trump or Jan. 6 behind Republican candidates like now Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin of Virginia," they added.