The New Dems’ winning message of progress from the middle
If Democrats hold the majority in the House of Representatives next month, it will be because of the electoral success of moderate New Democrat Coalition (NewDem) members and endorsed candidates—just as they were the key in gaining the majority in 2018 and holding it in 2020.
As we recently witnessed in Kansas, New York, and in primary elections across the country, voters are rejecting extremism and instead turning to candidates who will break through the gridlock to tackle the big issues confronting our country. Time and again Democratic voters selected mainstream, moderate leaders with a record of getting things done. These are the candidates that are now resonating with independent voters.
Most of these moderate candidates are members of, or endorsed by, the NewDems. We are a group of nearly 100 center-left members committed to finding commonsense solutions to America’s toughest challenges. We are running to defend our nation’s freedoms, to deliver on kitchen table issues, and to protect basic rights such as equality and choice for all Americans. Our solutions-focused message and moderate political approach is resonating with voters.
In 2018, Democrats flipped 40 seats because of our plan to protect Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care and to defend democracy during the corrupt Trump years—promises we’ve kept. In 2020, we did it again as New Dems members won in the most competitive races of the cycle, and were the only ideological group to flip seats to Democrat from Republican.
This cycle is no different. NewDem members have listened to their voters, developed a positive, results-driven message, and put in the work necessary to win. For example, NewDem Reps. Sean Casten (Ill.), Shontel Brown (Ohio) and Haley Stevens (Mich.) all won their primary races over far-left candidates with strong kitchen table messages focused on Americans’ success.
We have also recruited compelling moderate candidates such as Tony Vargas (Neb.-02), Val Hoyle (Ore.-04), Adam Gray (Calif.-13), Jeff Jackson (N.C.-14), and Jevin Hodge (Ariz.-01), who have successfully outperformed their primary challengers. These candidates are now working hard to flip critical districts from California to North Carolina.
While moderate Democrats are stronger than ever, moderate Republicans are a vanishing breed. Virtually all of the Republicans opting to retire at the end of this term are from the more moderate wing of their party. And moderate Republican candidates repeatedly lost to extreme Trump-backed candidates in primary after primary.
Consequently, this fall voters have a stark choice between commonsense, mainstream Democrats and right-wing extremists. The MAGA wing of the party is pushing an agenda of election lies, raising middle class taxes, threatening to end Social Security and Medicare, and rolling back individual freedoms. The choice is clear.
Not only do Democrats have a winning message, we have real accomplishments to run on. Democrats have passed legislation that is creating new jobs and helping our economy recover from COVID-19, strengthening our supply chains, rebuilding and reimagining our infrastructure, tackling climate change, and helping keep our communities safe and secure. Democrats are delivering real results for our communities and our county, while Republicans are too often just standing in the way. We need more leaders laser-focused on solutions rather than distracted with culture wars and stripping away fundamental freedoms.
The 2022 midterm elections are the most consequential in recent memory. Republicans have told us what they’ll try to do if they win—pass a nationwide abortion ban, overturn marriage equality, defund the FBI, attempt to subvert the 2024 presidential election, and continue their assault on Americans’ fundamental freedoms. Democrats are putting people before politics and focusing on lowering costs, better paying jobs and safer communities.
Democrats know how to win, and we can do it again. There is a clear path to victory. The NewDem message is our winning message.
Brad Schneider represents the 10th District of Illinois and is the chair of the New Democrat Coalition Action Fund, which is committed to protecting and electing House New Dems.