NBC News reported Saturday that the House Democratic Caucus is experiencing a wave of resignations ahead of next year’s midterm elections, causing nothing less than total chaos and uncertainty for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
While some in the party are attempting to put a brave face on the harsh reality they inevitably face, critics say that departures suggest Republicans are in for a good election year.
According to NBC, 23 Democratic members have signaled that they will not be seeking reelection, with five of those announcements taking place over the past month alone.
Dems in denial
Among the reasons cited for their departure are redistricting efforts, which will make campaigning more difficult, and they’ve also cited dissatisfaction with the current environment on Capitol Hill.
“I don’t believe it has anything to do with our prospects in 2022,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who serves as chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
“We’re going to hold the House, and we’re going to grow a majority,” the New York congressman insisted. “We’re going to do it because of extraordinary leadership.”
However, Jeffries’ optimism may be grossly misplaced, as midterm voters often turn against the president’s party. What’s more, President Joe Biden’s poll numbers have plummeted, which will also have an undesirable effect on Democratic candidates across the nation.
Biden’s in trouble
According to FiveThirtyEight’s polling aggregate, the president’s approval rating stands at just 43.3%. Meanwhile, some surveys show Biden doing even worse.
A YouGov poll conducted in mid-December found that just 39% regarded the president’s performance favorably.
What’s more, a Rasmussen survey conducted last week reported the president’s approval rating as being just 41%. That poll found 49% of respondents strongly disapproved of Biden, compared to 20% who said they strongly disapproved.
Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of the nonpartisan political handicapper known as Sabato’s Crystal Ball, told Fox News that the Democrats’ departures could have major significance, saying, “Only members themselves know why they decide to retire.”
“But if there’s an imbalance of retirements toward one party or another, it sometimes can tell us something about what the party with a lot of retirees thinks might happen in the midterms,” Kondik added.