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DCCC Chair's Appearance on 'Face the Nation' Reeks of Desperation

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File

Last week was not a good week for Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY), who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), as Cook Political Report moved his seat into the "Toss Up" category. This week hasn't started off much better, judging from his desperate appearance on CBS News's "Face the Nation."

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Host Margaret Brennan began by asking the congressman if he and his fellow Democrats will "unequivocally" accept the outcome of the midterm elections.

Maloney replied with an "of course, we'll accept the outcome of the elections," adding that Democrats "always have, always will."

This isn't quite the truth, though. Many Democrats were quick to question the 2016 presidential election results and call them "illegitimate," including Hillary Clinton, who ran and lost to Donald Trump. Clinton also claimed the election was "stolen." In 2018, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams in Georgia denied the election results, though she continues to lie about her record of denial. Democrats were also heavy into election denialism in 2000, when then-DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe steadfastly claimed the election was stolen, especially after the U.S. Supreme Court got involved. He continued this claim into the 2004 election when then-President George W. Bush was running for re-election. Stunningly, McAuliffe tried to claim that his opponent, Glenn Youngkin, had denied elections. Youngkin beat McAuliffe last November in the Virginia gubernatorial race. 

These are just but a few examples. RNC Research compiled a 10-minute clip of Democrats doing so. 

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While Brennan did criticize Clinton's recent video in which she claimed "right-wing extremists already have a plan to literally steal the next presidential election, and they're not making a secret of it," she surprisingly did not point out the election denialism that came from Clinton. 

When asked by Brennan if he agreed that Clinton's comments were "not helpful in the current environment to talk about plots to steal elections," Maloney said he hadn't seen those comments and went ahead and re-interpreted the remarks.

"What I think is that it's perfectly legitimate for both parties to make sure that voting is fair, that there's no fraud, that when votes are cast, that people have a right to cast them or don't," he claimed, before ranting about how Republicans reacted to the 2020 presidential election. 

As he has done in the past, Maloney defended spending DCCC money, which many members have criticized, to boost and promote John Gibbs in the August primary for Michigan's 3rd Congressional District. Gibbs ultimately beat Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), one of the many pro-impeachment Republicans who lost his seat. 

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While Maloney defended the move based on Gibbs being considered an easier opponent for Democratic nominee Hillary Scholten to beat, her win is not a foregone conclusion. The seat is at best regarded as "Lean Democratic," and Decision Desk HQ actually has the race as "Lean Republican."

Maloney didn't do much better when discussing the issues with Brennan. When asked why Democrats haven't "been able to shake that perception of being soft on crime," a valid question to be sure, he referred to the perception as "a lie" and ranted about gun crimes. Such was a tactic Gov. Kathy Hochul (D-NY) employed in last week's debate against Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and it could lose her the race.

The congressman was also confronted with the results of a CBS News poll, which, like all other polls, shows Republicans with an edge on the economy. "Since you're--you're talking strategy here in these closing days, how do you change these perceptions, and how do you get out younger voters?" Brennan asked. 

"Well, what people need to know is that we have a plan for cheaper gas, cheaper groceries, cheaper housing, cheaper health care, we have a plan for safer streets, supporting good policing and attacking gun violence, which is so much of the problem, and supporting our freedoms, our reproductive freedoms and our voting rights. And that's, those are real plans," he said, not going into specifics.

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Maloney then pivoted to ranting against Republicans, "They have no plan for gun violence, they have no plan to move our country forward, protecting voting rights, protecting reproductive freedoms."

He then warned voters against putting Democrats out of office. "So--so what I would say is don't punish the people who are fixing your problems and don't reward the people who are trying to exploit the problems for their own political power. That's really the difference right now. We're--we're engaged in the hard work of bringing our country forward. The other side's working on their own power," he concluded. 

The November midterms are now just over one week away. It's not merely Rep. Maloney's seat that is in danger, but Democratic control of the House overall. The CBS News poll released on Sunday that Brennan discussed shows Republicans in control of 228 seats. 

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