Democrats have officially (as predicted) held the House Of Representatives for another 2 years. Nancy Pelosi is set for another term as Speaker. We see yet more progressive voices making their way into congress, and this is a brilliant thing. There will be a much stronger leftwing voice in this House. However, these results were a disappointment for Democrats.
Democrats had broadly expected to make yet further gains, building on 2018. Instead, Republicans have defied the odds and made substantial gains in the House. This is down to a few factors.
It appears some voters who used 2018 as a middle finger to the President, have voted Biden and gone back to Republicans down the ballot. These results will cause soul searching among Democrats, and surprising and celebration among Republicans.
House Democrats (with those shining exceptions) insisted on sticking to a rigid, moderate, soulless agenda. This election certainly repudiated playing it safe, and may have been a rebuke of the House being unable to get anything substantial done with the White House and the Senate being red through 18–20.
House Democrats need to focus on a populist economic agenda. We need to see them, very publicly, talking about common sense and bold ideas. Big ticket items like Medicare For All or the Green New Deal. These policies command public majorities, and the Republicans were allowed to dominate the populist economic field, and were far more focused on the economy over public health than House Democrats punted.
The message these results send is that people are looking for bold, and clear leadership. The Democrats didn’t offer enough to retain all their support or expand it, but they retained enough to secure two more years of control.
If Democrats want to maintain that control in 2022, they need to get bolder, and get serious about improving working class people’s lives, with big ticket progressive items, even if they aren’t put into law.