Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (N.Y.), the chairman of House Democrats' campaign arm, said Wednesday he’s doing a deep dive into the party’s election failures in 2020, including a look at “why the polling sucked.”
Speaking at an event hosted by Politico, Maloney said the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has commissioned a report examining why the party lost more than a dozen House seats over the course of an election in which they won the White House and a majority in the Senate.
“I’m doing a deep dive to figure out why the polling sucked, why we were misled on the status of certain races … on how we do digital, on how we use qualitative research versus quantitative research,” he said. “There’s a lot to learn. We’re looking at it … and we will have a report.”
Democrats were expecting to pick up seats and add to their majority in the House in 2020. Instead, Democrats lost 15 seats and entered the year with the smallest House majority in modern times.
Maloney said Wednesday he expects the Democrats will maintain their majority in the House following the 2022 midterm elections, which are historically difficult for a new president’s party. Democrats currently hold 222 House seats.
“We’re going to keep the House and it will be more than the 218 seats,” Maloney said.
“I do believe we are in a strong position to retain and grow this majority … because we’ll defeat the pandemic, get the economy roaring again, and we’re not divided like the Republicans, who are trying to decide between the QAnon mob or whether to be a responsible governing party. They’re having a civil war with each other,” he said.
It was particularly galling for Democrats in 2020 that the party underperformed among Latino voters in key swing states, such as Florida, and in border districts in Texas.
Maloney on Wednesday accused Republicans of misrepresenting Democratic views on socialism and defunding the police, saying those attacks may have contributed to the party’s losses.
Maloney said the Democratic majority in the House never passed any bills that had a whiff of socialism and argued that the “Defund the Police” mantra was embraced by only a handful of left-wing House members and activists.
Republicans used those issues to run against moderate Democrats in swing districts.
“The Squad is four people and they make a big deal out of this,” Maloney said.
“There are a number of attacks that were caricatures and lies lodged by the Republicans that may have had an effect. … The fact is that the legislation that came out of 116th Congress … not one [bill] had anything to do with socialism or defunding the police. … I’m proud of what we’ve passed.”
Under Maloney, the DCCC has sought to characterize Republicans as a party of fringe right-wingers and conspiracy theorists, with a focus on members such as Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), who have in the past embraced QAnon.
Maloney pointed to the 199 Republicans in the House who voted to keep Greene on the House Education Committee after her old social media posts promoting conspiracies and a video of her hounding a Parkland, Fla., shooting survivor resurfaced.
“If they won’t be a responsible party in government, then QAnon becomes one more proof point that they’re no longer responsible adults who can be trusted … the Democratic Party is becoming the last responsible party in the room and that’s sad because our country deserves two functioning parties,” Maloney said.
“They’re having a civil war for a reason,” he added. “One road is dark conspiracy theories, and the other way is a responsible role in government, but right now they can’t decide.”