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Tipsheet

Democrats Are Singing a Very Different Tune Now That They've Given Up on Winning at the State Level Too

Twitter, AZ House Republicans

As the November midterm elections loom closer, some Democrats look to be getting more in touch with the reality of an upcoming red wave, at least at the state level. While the move for the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) to lower expectations may reflect they're being more realistic, it does go back on a previous message from earlier this cycle. 

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On Thursday, the DLCC released an updated memo on their legislative priorities, titled "Path to the Majority." Of particular interest is the section that includes the Arizona House and Senate, Pennsylvania House and Senate, and the Georgia House. Those are regarded as states where Democrats look to be "Reversing Republicans’ Structural Advantage."

That section, with added emphasis, claims that "Redistricting realities, the political environment, and current legislative margins make these chambers more challenging — but make no mistake, they’re competitive. We’re investing to gain ground and if any of these chambers appear more competitive later in the cycle, we’ll make a play for the majority."

This is of particular interest in Arizona. I recently covered the stunning honesty from Democratic strategist and former Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell who, during his appearance on NBC 12's "Sunday Square Off" segment from April 17, acknowledged "it would be impossible" for Democrats to take the majority. Redistricting is not only an issue there, but finding good candidates. Campbell effectively offered they're just hoping to have better luck next year. 

In other words, they're giving up. 

Via a memo from March 16, 2021 on "2021 & 2022 Legislative Battlegrounds," the DLCC included the Arizona and Pennsylvania legislatures as part of their "State Legislative Battlegrounds" section. The Georgia House was mentioned under "Building Democratic Power."

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"We are on the cusp of a legislative majority in both chambers and will get new maps drawn by an independent commission that better represents the population in 2022," last year's memo claimed in part about Arizona. 

About Pennsylvania, the memo in part read that "this year we’ll have an improved Supreme Court of Pennsylvania appointing the tie breaking vote to the Legislative Reapportionment Commission. That means Democrats will be competing on fair maps in the Keystone State for the first time in well over a decade. It will be a steep hill to climb, particularly because Democrats lost a few rural districts in November, but Pennsylvania will have gubernatorial and Senate races in 2022 and the legislature will be competitive. We’re going to make sure we mount an aggressive challenge."

This memo also complained that the "Georgia legislature isn’t red; it’s gerrymandered," as a reason to why they haven't had more success.

Yet the memos from two different parts of the cycle are hardly the only time that the Democrats have had conflicting messages. In an interview last summer with Blue Ripple Politics, Christina Polizzi, the National Press Secretary of DLCC, referred to Arizona as a "top target."

DLCC President Jessica Post said last December, as quoted by The New York Times, that "We’re very cleareyed about what may happen out in the electorate," when it comes to Arizona and Pennsylvania, but she insisted that "if we run good races, we can win in tough territory."

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Post is also featured in an interview from March of this year with The Daily Kos, in which she said improvements in the state House maps were looking good for them. "Certainly there are about 12 more seats that Hillary Clinton won, and that's certainly one way that we kind of judge the data. So that's a great possibility for us to flip that chamber red to blue," she said. 

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), the Republican counterpart of the DLCC, was quick to take notice. "Even the DLCC is now admitting that Joe Biden is dragging down state Democrats and that they are in huge trouble ahead of November. It turns out mimicking the president’s radical agenda in states like Arizona and Pennsylvania is a losing strategy, which is why the DLCC is apparently waiving the white flag in those battlegrounds despite vowing to flip them earlier in the cycle," RSLC Communications Director Andrew Romeo said in a statement for Townhall. 

Beyond these specific states, it's worth noting that the memo, multiple times, seeks to excuse what is likely to be failures this upcoming November by emphasizing how the president's party almost always loses seats in his first midterm election.

"We know that we could be entering a tough political environment, as is historically the case for the president’s party during the midterm elections. We have seen what can happen in the states during a Democratic president’s tenure. During the last midterm under a new Democratic president, Democrats were caught flat-footed at the state legislative level of the ballot and our chambers took a hard hit. That set us back for the next decade," the memo claims at one point.

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While this is true as a matter of historical precedence, President Joe Biden still seems to have delusions that his party can retain control of Congress. Further, his particularly poor poll numbers and a high amount of Democratic members in the U.S. House of Representatives retiring make the situation look even worse for Democrats, not just at the Congressional level, but down-ballot as well. 

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