Key takeaways from Election Night 2021: ‘Democrats have a lot of work to do’
Annie Andersen: Democrats are reeling and the blame game is already underway following Tuesday’s election results.
Steve Shepard is the senior campaigns and elections editor for Politico.
Steve, what did this election show us?
Steven Shepard: we’ve learned that certainly the political environment has changed a lot in the past year, you know, roughly a year to the day that Joe Biden won Virginia by 10 points. Republican Glenn Younkin is going to win a narrow victory but still a victory by about two or three points, in all likelihood once all the votes are counted, that that’s a big swing. And I think it points to the political environment shifting over the past year and leading into next year’s crucial midterm elections. This is not an environment that favors President Biden or his party, right.
A. Andersen: how much did what happened on Capitol Hill and in the White House? How much did that have to do with this election?
S. Shepard: I think you’re gonna hear a lot of recriminations in the coming days about whether if House Democrats had only passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate with with some Republican support if they’d pass that maybe Democrats and Joe Biden, President Biden would have something to celebrate and something to sell to Virginia voters. You know, I don’t think we know that quite yet. What we do know though, is that President Biden is the leader of the Democratic Party, and in the past year, he’s not in the same situation that he was a year ago or even three or four months ago. His approval ratings have fallen both the national polls in the Virginia exit poll was down to about 45%. This is a state again, he went by 10 points only for more voters today disapprove of the job Joe Biden is doing as president then approved. That’s a big bill was a big problem for Terry McAuliffe, and it’s going to be a big problem for Democrats in the 2022. midterms. If Biden can’t turn that around.
A. Andersen: Just touching on New Jersey really quickly, this race was expected to be at one point not close at all and then it kind of got closer and now we’re seeing it extremely close. What does that tell us?
S. Shepard: It tells us the same sort of thing about the national environment. I think each of these races, especially when you’re electing governors, they don’t always adhere. You know, there’s a Democratic governor now in a place like Kansas, which is obviously very Republican state. They don’t always adhere perfectly to where the state sits on the spectrum. But I think it tells us the same thing about the National Environment. Democrats are facing real real headwinds. Republicans have the wind at their back right now. And it also tells us that someone like Democrat Phil Murphy, may not have been as safe as he thought may not have been as safe as national Democrats thought and Republicans are certainly I think surprised to see the race so close this late into the night.
A. Andersen: Is there anything Democrats and Republicans need to do looking forward to 2022?
S. Shepard: I mean, I certainly think if you’re Republicans, you want to freeze the national environment right now and move it forward 365 days and hold the elections for control of the House and Senate under these conditions. Democrats have a lot of work to do and I think you’re going to hear arguments on both sides of the Democratic divide about what they should do about the two bills languishing in Congress right now. The infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate and sits before the House and the social spending bill. President Biden’s 10 year social spending bill which has to pass both the House and Senate and it’s still being written, whether they should act on those now. And move them forward, have something to sell for voters, do something with their control, have full control of Washington, or pivot away from these projects and move on to something different that they can sell to voters to turn things around for 2022.
Annie Andersen: Thank you so much for your time, and breaking this down for us.