Losses do little to bring Democrats unity: The Note

Biden said his party's fortunes will turn if members "produce results."

November 04, 2021, 6:00 AM
PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about the authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 on the White House campus, Nov. 03, 2021.
President Joe Biden speaks about the authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 on the White House campus, Nov. 03, 2021.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The TAKE with Rick Klein

If Democrats are awake now, they arose with starkly varying visions about what to do next.

Either Tuesday's results tell them they should do more and do it more quickly, or that they have been seeking to do too much, too fast all along. Another option being offered is that none of it was really their fault -- that Republican lies and media failings duped voters into thinking GOP candidates were the right choices.

It means, in essence, that Democrats come out of one of the worst elections they've suffered in recent years having basically the same intra-party fight they've been having for most of this year, if not the past five.

President Joe Biden's agenda remains in limbo, with House members even now trying to wedge in new provisions covering immigration reform, state and local tax deductions and paid family leave.

PHOTO: President Joe Biden speaks about the authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 on the White House campus, Nov. 03, 2021.
President Joe Biden speaks about the authorization of the Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11 on the White House campus, Nov. 03, 2021.
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The president said Wednesday political fortunes will turn if Democrats "just produce results" -- basically the same message he had earlier this week, last week, last month and before that.

"Get it to my desk," he said, addressing Democrats in Congress about the two multi-trillion-dollar bills he wants passed.

Republicans are digesting the outcomes with relative ease. Voters in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere seemed more receptive to basic -- and, yes, often base-friendly -- messaging: inflation, gas prices, empty shelves, reliable schools, keeping children safe.

For Democrats, warning signs about what happened this week were visible in 2020, 2018 and 2016.

This year's losses, though, go down at least in part as a judgment on what they have done with control of Washington. Like it or not, their push to get legislation passed has come off primarily as about big ideas, bigger price tags and petty political fights -- as well as broken promises.

The RUNDOWN with Averi Harper

While Democrats evaluate former Gov. Terry McAuliffe's poor performance in Tuesday's gubernatorial election, some organizers are urging the party to invest more heavily in the Black electorate.

Nearly 20% of Virginians identify as Black. McAuliffe underperformed in Democratic strongholds in the commonwealth, including areas with concentrated Black populations like Hampton Roads and the area around Richmond, the state's capital.

PHOTO: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe greets supporters after speaking at a canvass launch rally October 31, 2021 in Manassas, Va., Oct. 31, 2021.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe greets supporters after speaking at a canvass launch rally October 31, 2021 in Manassas, Va., Oct. 31, 2021.
Win Mcnamee/Getty Images

"Virginia is a preview of what can happen across the nation in 2022 if we fail to invest in a bold agenda that delivers for Black voters," said Alicia Garza, head of think tank Black to the Future Action Fund. "Democrats must view this loss as a referendum on what the party invests in and what they don't, and double down on investments in policies that Black voters and Black communities need."

This loss comes as many of the promises the Biden administration made to Black voters remain unaddressed. Among other issues, the administration has failed to pass legislation on voting rights and police reform.

"Don't take the Black vote for granted," said NAACP President Derrick Johnson in statement on the failed voting bill. "Don't torpedo our democracy."

The TIP with Alisa Wiersema

For the third time this year, Senate Republicans blocked a move to begin debating federal voting rights in the upper chamber, signaling that for the foreseeable future, state executives could continue flexing their muscles over the administration of elections.

Only one Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, voted with Democrats to advance debate on the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would have allowed the Justice Department and federal courts to review state election laws and would have restored voters' ability to challenge them. Murkowski's backing of the bill came from key additions to the legislation related to the voting rights of Native Americans and Alaskans.

PHOTO: Senator Lisa Murkowski speaks with a security guard as she stands outside the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill, Nov. 3, 2021.
Senator Lisa Murkowski speaks with a security guard as she stands outside the Senate Chamber on Capitol Hill, Nov. 3, 2021.
Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The news of the bill's failure came on the heels of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' call to create a new group within the state government tasked with focusing solely on election crimes. "If someone is found ballot harvesting, you report it to these people and this is their sole job (to investigate)," DeSantis told supporters on Wednesday while detailing a proposal to increase criminal penalties for violating the suggested changes he’s hoping the legislature implements in the special session.

The Republican governor's push to address election integrity during an upcoming special legislative session this month is taking place a year after he praised his state's election administration coming out of the 2020 presidential election. Last November, former President Donald Trump carried Florida.

THE PLAYLIST

ABC News' "Start Here" Podcast. On Thursday morning ABC's Devin Dwyer breaks down the guns rights case currently facing SCOTUS deliberations. Then, ABC's Rick Klein talks us through election results from across the country. And, ABC's Anne Flaherty explains OSHA's role in Biden's vaccine mandates. http://apple.co/2HPocUL

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY

  • CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky and NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci testify at 10 a.m. before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions in a hearing titled, "Next Steps: The Road Ahead for the COVID-19 Response.
  • The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing at 10 a.m. on the impact of Texas' law that effectively bans abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
  • The president of the Republican State Leadership Committee hosts a virtual press call at 1 p.m. to discuss GOP gains in Tuesday's elections
  • .

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin, her longtime advisor and author of her new memoir, "Both/And," participate in a moderated conversation at 7 p.m. as part of the 92Y Recanati-Kaplan Talks.
  • Download the ABC News app and select "The Note" as an item of interest to receive the day's sharpest political analysis.

    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the day's top stories in politics. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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