In the wake of Democratic candidate John Ossoff’s incredibly expensive loss in the special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District on Tuesday, there are two major — and conflicting — narratives coming from Democrats.
The first explanation from some factions is that the party has gone too far left in its embrace of radical progressive politics. The second prominent explanation is that Democrats haven’t gone far enough to the left. These conflicting autopsies of the Democrats’ recent electoral woes do not bode well for party unity, and indeed suggest that the Democratic Party may end up tearing itself apart.
“They’re caught in their own vortex,” observed LifeZette Editor-in-Chief Laura Ingraham during an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“Some of the Democrats want to go far left,” said Ingraham. “They want to go income redistribution,” she added. Then there are “ones struggling in the middle, and they’re in no man’s land.”
Some Democratic officials recognized the need to move beyond progressive politics and lay out a new vision on economic issues.
“#Ossof Race better be a wake-up call for Democrats — business as usual isn’t working. Time to stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future,” tweeted Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.). “We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent, not a smaller one. Focus on the future,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.
Others in the Democratic camp suggested the party needs a major branding overhaul.
“We had good candidates, but they just couldn’t overcome our national brand, which is toxic and damaged,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) told the New York Post.
To those on the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, however, the solution is an ever-deeper embrace of full-on, far-left politics.
“The unforced errors by the party leadership and the campaign present an important learning opportunity for everyone who wants to kick Republicans out of power in 2018,” said Jim Dean, chairman of Democracy for America, in an official statement released on Tuesday night.
“Defeating Republicans in districts that they have traditionally held requires doing something drastically different than establishment Democrats have done before — specifically, running on a bold progressive vision and investing heavily in direct voter contact to expand the electorate,” said Dean. “The same, tired centrist Democratic playbook that has come up short, cycle after cycle, will not suffice.”