Even before voters headed to the polls on Tuesday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz had begun to downplay the midterm elections.
“Nothing to see here” no doubt has begun to be scribbled into the talking points regarding every hard-fought blue-state campaign.
Pelosi has ordered Democratic members to report to Capitol Hill on Election Day for a caucus lunch, no doubt to circle the wagons and to get members on the same page, message-wise.
Members typically are at home in their districts on Election Day, so the unusual request could signal leaders realize things could get ugly when the results start to roll in.
Pelosi hasn’t always been so glum.
In June, she predicted Democrats would compete in 70 races across the United States, target 25 key seats and win 17 House seats to reclaim the majority.
On June 10, following then-Minority Leader Eric Cantor’s loss in a primary to a little-known college professor, Pelosi upped the ante and predicted a windfall for Democrats this year. “It’s a whole new ballgame,” she said at the time.
Wasserman Schultz joined in, saying Democrats “will exceed expectations” in November.
When asked earlier this year for evidence of strong flagship races for Democrats, Wasserman Schultz cited three senators—Jeanne Shaheen in New Hampshire, Mark Pryor in Arkansas and Kay Hagan in North Carolina.
The Democrats’ calculations on winnable seats were not the only things off base. Their predictions for how important issues would affect races haven’t panned out either.
In November 2013, Pelosi proudly trumpeted on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that Democrats would “stand tall” for Obamacare. In March of this year, she predicted Obamacare would be “a winning issue” for Democrats in the midterm elections.
Asked last November whether she meant it when she said Democrats would run on Obamacare, Wasserman Schultz replied, “You’re darn right.”
But in the key swing state of Iowa, the Daily Iowan newspaper calls Obamacare “a decisive issue” in the election. Republican candidate Joni Ernst repeatedly has used the words “Obama,” “Obamacare” and “extreme” in her ads and has been rewarded with a modest-but-growing lead in the final polling, the paper said.
Feeling the heat as the final poll numbers came in, Democrats finally have changed their tune.
Pelosi now suggests that even if Republicans win big, they “won’t keep their majority for long.” Pelosi already is attempting to turn the page by predicting Democrats will win Congress and the White House in 2016.
No matter what Pelosi and Wasserman Schultz say, this is not the electoral outcome they intended, desired or predicted.
It is, in fact, anything but.