With their election prospects looking grimmer by the day, Democrats are discovering that Democratic governance during and since the pandemic has not been particularly popular.
According to Axios, Democratic campaign operatives working on House races are laying blame on Democratic governors for dragging down their candidates down-ballot. With races in New York, California, and Oregon shifting toward the GOP, those operatives are laying blame on their respective governors: Kathy Hochul, Gavin Newsom, and Kate Brown.
Hochul has made a habit of ignoring and downplaying crime, claiming that anyone concerned about crime is a “data denier” who is falling for conspiracy theories from “master manipulators.” Meanwhile, crime has gotten worse up and down the state, and even New York Democrats rank it as their second-most important election issue. Hochul’s dismissive attitude toward crime might even cost her her job as GOP opponent Lee Zeldin gains momentum in the final weeks.
Newsom won’t lose his job, but he isn’t rescuing House Democratic candidates in swing districts across the state. Newsom has been focused on preparing for his 2024 presidential run, disregarding California’s growing poverty, homelessness, and cost-of-living issues. California’s exorbitant prices and gas tax also amplify the effects of inflation, which is the Democratic Party’s biggest vulnerability going into the midterm elections.
Newsom also oversaw the most hypocritical COVID regime in the country, with lockdowns and mandates that defied science and that neither Newsom nor his Democratic colleagues obeyed. To top it all off, he has also been dismissive of crime, peddling misleading talking points (which Hochul has begun to parrot) about how crime is a red-state problem.
Brown is another governor who has ignored crime and homelessness. She checks in as the least popular governor in the country, and though she is not running for reelection, voters are holding it against her party. President Joe Biden even campaigned in Oregon to try and stop the bleeding, but vulnerable House Democratic candidates might not survive an election in which Oregon voters are poised to elect a GOP governor for the first time since 1982.
Along with those three, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer courted a competitive race thanks to her incoherent lockdown orders in Michigan. The Cook Political Report also labels the races in Kansas (Gov. Laura Kelly), Nevada (Gov. Steve Sisolak), and Wisconsin (Gov. Tony Evers) as toss-ups, along with Oregon, with Democrats on the verge of losing all four.
With no presidential race, these Democratic governors are at the top of the ballot, and Democrats are learning that people don’t like living under Democratic rule as much as they thought. If they were smart, they would reevaluate their policies (particularly on crime) and admit that they were far too overzealous in their support for lockdowns and COVID mandates.
Instead, we likely will see the party fall into line behind a Newsom presidential run in 2024, even as House Democrats lose swing seats with him at the top of the ballot — because Democrats never learn their lessons from losing elections.