WASHINGTON — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, beaming with confidence after proving his skeptics wrong and expanding his majority in the midterms, vowed without hesitation that the Democratic Party will once again maintain control in two years.
“Yes, I absolutely do. [believe it will] if we stick to our lodestar, which is: helping people with the things they need help with,” Schumer, DN.Y., said in an interview Wednesday on Capitol Hill.
It will be a Herculean task. Democrats are defending three seats in the Republican-leaning states of West Virginia, Montana and Ohio. They are seeking to fill five more seats in the closely divided states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona, where Sen. Kyrsten Sinema recently resigned from the party and became an independent. And your best pick-up opportunities are in Republican-leaning Florida and the Republican stronghold of Texas.
To get there, Schumer promised that Democrats will govern and campaign for the next two years as pragmatists, not ideologues. “We believe that the government should help families every day, but in the things that matter to them, not in some ideological way,” he said.
Schumer attributed his confidence to two factors.
First, he said, the recent accomplishments of the Democratic-led Congress will deliver results over the next two years that voters will reward. He cited provisions of the Reduction of Inflation Act to lower prescription drug prices and limit Medicare out-of-pocket drug costs to $2,000 a year. And he said that infrastructure spending will increase and semiconductor plants will be built because of the Science Act and CHIPS.
“There are many benefits that are already in the pipeline,” he said.
Second, he argued, the Democrats won this year by drawing a contrast to the Republicans, competing as a party that is “getting things done,” as opposed to a GOP that he says has been captured by extremist forces aligned with Former President Donald Trump. Schumer pointed to the recently conservative Supreme Court, which struck down abortion rights and expanded the right to bear arms this year.
As a result, Schumer warned that suburban voters who left the Republican Party in recent years will see no reason to return, calling it “part of a realignment” in the American electorate.
“MAGA’s influence in the match will not disappear very quickly. They are very strong. Are very active. They are far-right,” he said, arguing that “that MAGA group out there” will hurt Republicans even if Trump is not their 2024 presidential candidate.
“You put those two things together, and I think the election results in 2024 could be better than what a lot of people are now predicting,” he said.
Republicans are pointing fingers at the disastrous outcome of the 2022 election, in which they squandered a slew of opportunities to win seats, as midterm elections almost always benefit the party outside of the White House. Instead, the Democrats expanded their majority in the Senate from 50 to 51 seats.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., blamed the party’s poor performance on “candidate quality” problems in key races, arguing that Trump’s endorsement propelled flawed candidates in the primaries. Republicans in states like Arizona and Georgia, which later lost to Democrats. in the general elections.
“I think we have an opportunity to relearn, once again: We have to have quality candidates to win in competitive Senate races,” McConnell told reporters Tuesday.
Asked Wednesday if the party will be more active in choosing primary candidates, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., the incoming chairman of the Republican Senatorial National Committee, said simply: “We want to win the general election.”