After failing to capture the Senate for the third election cycle in a row as they face another two years in the minority (should January's Georgia Senate runoff fail to flip the chamber), Senate Democrats are trying to regroup to improve their messaging.
And whose strategy are some Democrats looking to emulate? Joe Biden.
"We should be paying attention to what Joe Biden did. Joe Biden’s message won in the kind of states we need to win in order to capture the Senate, so we should sort of be looking at the issues that Biden focused on ... and think of that as a template," said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT).
"I think the issue we’re grappling with more on the Senate side is, you know, how to get accomplishments and then make sure people understand, ‘Hey that’s a Democratic thing," Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) tells The Hill.
Democrats entered the 2020 cycle defending 12 seats to Republicans’ 23. Though most of those were in deep-red states, a combination of historic levels of fundraising, an unpopular Republican incumbent at the top of the ticket, a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic and, in retrospect, inaccurate polling made Democrats and political prognosticators believe they had multiple pathways to winning back the majority for the first time since 2014.
Instead, in the four best states for Democrats, they won two, Arizona and Colorado, and lost two, Maine and North Carolina. And in the roughly eight additional races handicappers rated as toss ups or “lean Republican,” Democrats won none outright.
The two Georgia races are going to runoffs on Jan. 5, and Democrats would need to win both to get the Senate to a 50-50 split. -The Hill
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), meanwhile, is avoiding the topic. When asked during a recent press conference whether he thought Democrats had made mistakes by focusing on red states such as South Carolina, Schumer deflected to Biden's victory and redirected focus on Georgia.
"We've won the most important election that we face. We always said the No. 1 election is of the president, and we won. And, when it comes to the Senate, it's not over at all," he said.
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) expressed frustration over the party's poor messaging and inability to defend itself against attacks.
"I don't think it was the progressive movement, I think it was the fact that Democrats didn't have the right message to counter some of the things that came up. I think that so many things right now are just about messaging, and you know I keep saying things that were hit on me about defunding the police which is not true about some other things," said Jones.
Centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-VA) was a bit more direct - saying Democrats needed a message "that didn't scare the bejesus out of people."
"When you're talking about, basically, Green New Deal and all this socialism, that's not who we are as a Democratic Party," Manchin said in recent comments to Fox News. "If you have a 'D' by your name, you must be for all the crazy stuff, and I'm not."
Manchin’s rhetoric — he’s also tweeted that Democrats don’t have “some crazy socialist agenda” — earned him a call out from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who tweeted a photo of her appearing to glower at him during a State of the Union address.
Sen. Dick Durbin (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, said that Republicans were able to use the Green New Deal and “defund the police” calls “very effectively in a lot of races, even if Democrats had not said those words.” He argued that lawmakers now needed to “govern from the center” and “achieve what we can.” -The Hill
Read the rest of the report here.