Heading into Election Day, Democrats were hopeful for a “blue wave” that never arrived as they watched their majority in the House narrow.
The disappointment in the lower chamber spilled over Thursday into a vulgar group call, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in which moderate Dems blamed the party’s leftward turn for the dismal outcome, according to the Daily Caller.
House Dems get testy
On the call, Virginia’s Abigail Spanberger, a moderate who said she held onto her seat by a hair, offered a blunt assessment of what Democrats need to do differently. “We lost races we shouldn’t have lost,” she said, according to the Daily Caller. “Defund police almost cost me my race because of an attack ad. Don’t say socialism ever again.”
The Virginia Democrat added that Democrats have to “get back to basics,” stating bluntly: “If we run this race again we will get f*****g torn apart again in 2022.”
One Democrat who lost her race, Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, cried on the call, according to reports, and said that people could not pronounce her name correctly. She also complained about getting bullied on Twitter, the Daily Caller reported.
Speaker Pelosi, for her part, sought to mollify members of her caucus, insisting that Dems had at least kept the House. “I do disagree, Abigail, that it was a failure,” Pelosi said, responding to Spanberger, according to WIBC. “We won the House.”
The 80-year-old California lawmaker has said that she plans to seek another term as speaker, but the results of the election have aggravated members of the party and have some looking for new leaders. According to the New York Post, some Dems have considered Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, to replace Pelosi.
Echoes of 2016
Far-left Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), who is part of “The Squad” that moderates say hurt the party’s chances, was similarly defiant on the call Thursday.
“Don’t blame myself and others who are fighting for issues that matter to our communities,” Tlaib said, according to WIBC.
The call comes as ballots continue to be counted in a contested presidential race in which Democrats also fell dramatically short, denying them a rebuke of President Donald Trump and leaving pollsters on the defensive.
In the meantime, Trump has mounted legal battles over alleged voter fraud in a number of battleground states, and he has refused to concede the race.
Democrat Rep. Cheri Bustos (IL) blamed polling for creating a false impression of how well Dems would fare this time around. “Voters looked more like 2016 than projected,” she said on Thursday’s call, according to the New York Post.