Why Democrats in Maine face a brutal electoral landscape


Democrats are in big trouble.

If you’ve read anything about politics this month, it’s the narrative that prevails as pundits and pollsters attempt to map out the electoral landscape for the 2022 midterm.

They have accumulated significant evidence to support their theory.

A survey commissioned by ABC News found that 51% of registered voters say they would support the Republican candidate in their congressional constituency, compared to 41% for the Democrat. This is the largest generic voting gap in the 110 polls commissioned by ABC and the Washington Post since 1981.

New York Times columnist Thomas Edsall describes the contributing factors: The continuation of the pandemic, supply chain shortages and the corresponding upward pressure on inflation, illegal border crossings and the success of the GOP culture war by making “race theory” critical ”taught in graduate school a catch-all for white parents of schoolchildren worried about classroom teaching about race issues.

It doesn’t matter that the economy has been a boon for workers looking for different opportunities or pay increases. Or that the national unemployment rate is 4.6% and is expected to continue to decline. Or that Americans amassed $ 2.3 trillion in savings that were not anticipated before the pandemic, according to the The NYT result.

Brighter forecasts of GDP growth and a gradual easing of supply chain constraints – and potentially the corresponding pressure on inflation – are also do not resonate.

In other words, there are two stories to be told about the economy and the gloomy one that captures the current, cranky mood of the American public. According to a Gallup poll in October, 68% of Americans say the economy is getting worse.

How Democrats approach this sentiment could determine their election fortunes next year. It’s not just Congressional Democrats who need to worry, party governors and lawmakers too. While they may survive a hostile political climate better than members of Congress, state governors and lawmakers can also be swept away by an electoral wave. The 2010 midterm elections generated big gains not only for Republicans in Congress, but they also took big wins in state legislatures and gubernatorial races, including a trifecta winner in Maine .

Still, Democrats seem to disagree on what they’re supposed to do. Progressives in Congress argue that focusing more on a aggressive political agenda is the only way to engage disenchanted grassroots voters and counter the current GOP energy. Others urge a simpler and safer approach and a better message. Dan Pfeiffer, a former senior adviser to President Barack Obama and someone with some experience with seemingly desperate electoral dynamics, believes Democrats should portray Republicans as cynical opponents of reforms designed to help the same voters. who are angry on the economy.

Nancy Pelosi, Chellie Pingree

Susan walsh

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, left, poses during a swearing-in ceremony with Representative Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, right, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, January 3 2019, during the opening session of the 116th Congress.

Democratic Governor Janet Mills, for her part, has so far chosen to highlight how Democratic spending measures, both in Congress and the Legislature, have benefited Maine. She participated in a round table In Tuesday’s nationally aired program On Point to tout Maine’s part in the bipartisan infrastructure bill President Joe Biden enacted last week and she’s hosted numerous events to highlight how she spends them Federal dollars destined for Maine via the US bailout that Democrats approved earlier this year. Mills also made sure to highlight the state’s fiscal outlook, which on Tuesday included an expected improvement in the state’s revenue forecast of $ 822 million, an increase of almost 10% from projections. previous ones.

Meanwhile, United States Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree has been a vocal supporter of Biden’s $ 2,000 billion Build Back Better social spending initiative.

U.S. Democratic Representative Jared Golden took a very different approach. Golden, who is set to face an uphill battle for re-election next year in a district that twice voted for former President Donald Trump, has repeatedly signaled his objections to the Build Back Better provisions. He recently focused on the state and local tax deduction, or SALT, which would offer a $ 275 billion tax cut to people living in areas with high property taxes and property values ​​by removing a $ 10,000 cap promulgated in 2017.
Golden’s stance has been criticized as an electoral calculation designed to blunt GOP attack ads that will likely resemble a tweet this week by Republican Rep. Jason Smith, who introduced the SALT provision as Democrats break their promise to make high income earners pay their fair share of taxes. .

Jared Golden

Joel page

Democratic congressional candidate Jared Golden, left, greets supporters as they await the results of the Congressional 2nd District election Tuesday, Nov.6, 2018, in Lewiston, Maine.

A recent correction in the Build Back Better Joint Committee on Taxation analysis has not changed Golden’s position. The committee adjusted its original calculation to show the bill would hit millionaires with a 3.2% tax hike instead of a tax cut. Golden tweeted that the fit still didn’t fix his issues with SALT, which he said should not be in the bill.

The divergent views taken by Mills, Pingree and Golden arguably reflect the different challenges each face as they seek re-election next year. Pingree is in a relatively safe neighborhood for Democrats. Golden is in a swing neighborhood. Mills is running statewide in a contest against former Republican Gov. Paul LePage that will test his centrist government approach of appealing to Democrats without alienating business interests – an approach that continues to testify. ‘irritate progressive voters that she might need to win a second term.

Tryptophan-proof reading and listening

Here are some of the long pieces that we have read or listened to that will make you spend the holiday weekend:

The great organic food fraud, the New Yorker: How a Missouri Man Exploited Vulnerabilities in the Organic Food Certification System. “In a market that often seems to favor a certificate of authenticity over authenticity, all he had to do was lie. ”

Power struggle over cobalt shakes clean energy revolution, New York Times: Cobalt is a key component of electric cars poised to replace the US fleet, but Presidents Obama and Trump have been outmaneuvered by China, which now controls 15 of the 19 cobalt mines in Congo, home to the two thirds of current world production. This could make the United States more vulnerable to price shocks and the International Energy Agency expects a shortage of cobalt by 2030.

Aftermath (2020), NPR’s Throughline podcast: Herbert Hoover has been dubbed the ‘Great Humanitarian’ for his work during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, but his betrayal of a deal to whitewash abuses in African-American refugee camps sparked their migration from the south to the north and from the Republican to the Democratic Party.

The trailer: “We can win in any state” Dave Weigel of the Washington Post uses his newsletter to explain the GOP’s optimism in the gubernatorial races after a smash hit in Virginia this month.

Programming instructions

The Maine Political Pulse podcast will not air this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday. This is also the reason why this newsletter reaches you two days earlier – and much shorter – than usual.

In the spirit of the coming holidays, we here at The Pulse would like to say “thank you” for reading and listening over the past few years. The first Pulse podcast aired on September 14, 2018. The newsletter was launched in August 2020. Both continue thanks to your interest and support. We are incredibly grateful for both.

Happy holidays and be careful.

Click here to subscribe to Maine’s Political Pulse newsletter, sent to your inbox on Friday morning.

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