House Democrats blame losses on polls, message, even Trump

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to talk to reporters about Election Day results in races for the House of Representatives, at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., arrives to talk to reporters about Election Day results in races for the House of Representatives, at Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, Pool) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

WASHINGTON – Their majority shrunk, House Democrats cast blame Thursday on their election message, ground game and leadership under Speaker Nancy Pelosi's team after expectations for big wins came crashing down by a stark reversal in Trump country.

They focused too narrowly on health care, when voters were also worried about the economy.

They failed to fight back when Republicans labeled them “socialists” aligned with the party's most liberal firebrands.

They didn't knock on doors to meet voters, focusing instead on phone calls, digital outreach and TV ads, due to the health risks of campaigning during the pandemic.

They lost Latino voters in some places, and white, working class men in others.

They did not pass more COVID aid through Congress when Americans needed help most.

And perhaps most importantly, Democrats are coming to grips with the fact that whether President Donald Trump is e-elected or defeated by rival Joe Biden, they still have a problem understanding and winning over Trump voters.

Lawmakers unloaded during a caucus call Thursday — Democratic freshman Rep. Abigail Spanberger, in a so-tight race in Virginia, spoke with “passion” about the party's campaign failures, according to a person familiar with the private call and granted anonymity to discuss it.