Progressive Democrats prioritize economy, jobs in pitch to voters ahead of midterm elections

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Progressive Democrats in the House are becoming more vocal as they deliver pitches to voters ahead of the midterm elections, concluding that current issues within their party, like abortion rights and gun control, will play a part as they emphasized the need to create more jobs in America as the economy attempts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a recent interview with Fox News Digital, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., who has represented California’s Third Congressional District since 2013, was asked about recent polling from the New York Times that suggested Democrats hold a 20-point advantage over Republicans among White college-educated voters and Hispanics, as well as an Axios report that insisted there is a “seismic shift” in the Democratic electorate.

Garamendi – a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus – said the Axios poll, which claimed the Democratic Party is “becoming the party of upscale voters concerned more about issues like gun control and abortion rights,” represents a “point in time.”

“A shift occurs over a long period of time,” he said. “In the years I’ve been in political life, and in public life, I’ve watched the shift occur in opposite directions at least three to four times. The result of each one of those shifts as it moved back and forth … turned out to be minor and the result of each of the shifts is the Democrats turned out stronger after each shift.”

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Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., walks through the Capitol on Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2017.
(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“There was a variation, for example, in the 1990s in California… the Hispanic population was growing, and it was Republican,” he added. “Then it shifted Democrats and has remained Democratic in California, which has the largest Hispanic population of any state.”

Garamendi said the “broad statements” related to certain shifts among voters through time “may be temporarily important” and that the “trend has clearly been to the Democrats and continues that way.”

“Recent elections would indicate that, including the totality of congressional elections in the 2020 election,” he added. “The number of Democratic votes versus Republican votes was huge, and yet, because of gerrymandering, the results were less clear. So I would argue that gerrymandering has a whole lot more to do, at least with Congress and the legislatures, than do these, I would say, shorter term swings.”

When asked about efforts from Democrats to reach out to progressive voters, Garamendi said, “Jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s our pitch.”

“You take a look at what has happened during the Biden administration,” he said. “The economy was dead in its tracks when Biden came into office. I mean, it was shut down, going nowhere. And within two months of his presidency, the American rescue plan was in place, which was all about jobs, about small businesses, large businesses, airlines being able to continue to operate. It did indeed rescue the American economy.”

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“It’s about jobs, it’s about growing the economy,” he added.

Garamendi, who said his party has a “very strong set of arguments” on a number of issues facing Americans, insisted there is a “basket of issues” that will play a factor in the midterm elections and noted that the most valued issues going into those elections will vary on a state-by-state basis.

“Gun control and women’s rights and protection of women is not a racial issue. It cuts across every segment of the American economy,” he said. “Those are issues that are in play at this time and simultaneously, the economic issues are also. So it’s not just two issues. There is a basket of issues. And those will be in play in the upcoming midterm elections. It is a mistake to assume that the United States is in lockstep in every part of the nation.”

After defeating his primary challengers in June, Garamendi advanced to the November general election where he will face off against Rudy Recile, the Republican nominee, as he seeks to represent California’s 8th Congressional District.

Reps. John Garamendi, D-Calif., and Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.
(Bill Clark/Roll Call, Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIU)

Speaking to Fox News Digital, Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., who serves as deputy whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, also sounded off on the recent polling about the Democratic electorate and insisted that her party should be focused on issues that Americans “talk about every night when they sit down at the dining room table.”

“I don’t like labels,” Dingell said. “I don’t think of myself as a progressive, a moderate, a whatever. I’m somebody that works hard for the people that I represent. I was someone in 2016 who said to the Democrat Party, ‘Donald Trump could win’ – and then said, ‘Will win’ – because we weren’t doing a good job communicating with people that we represent, and we weren’t talking about trade.”

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“As Democrats, we need to take very seriously understanding [constituent] fears, their anxieties, the outsourcing of jobs,” she said. “But as Democrats, we’re the ones that are trying to bring supply chains back to the country, bring jobs back. Trump talked about it, but he didn’t deliver. We’re gonna deliver, hopefully, when we pass this chips bill.”

Regarding issues Americans faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dingell insisted that Americans “didn’t understand what we were talking about when we talked about supply chain until the pandemic.”

“When we suddenly couldn’t get basic supplies for medical needs like gloves, masks, and gowns, people finally understood what some of us were talking about,” she said. “As Democrats, we’re focused on delivering on that, and I’m not gonna stop until we do.”

Dingell, who is running to represent Michigan’s 6th Congressional District in the state’s August primary election, also outlined her pitch to non-White voters ahead of the election, zeroing in on the economy as she recalled her efforts to make appearances at union halls to speak with voters.

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., addresses the media during a visit to the Water Resource Recovery Facility, July 8, 2021, in Detroit.
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

“I talk about trade. I talk about policies that ensure we bring our jobs back home,” she said. “Republicans just use talking points that don’t support any specific action. … Republicans don’t have a single specific thing they would do to bring down the cost of inflation. In fact, it is the earlier work of not addressing COVID – of people being out of work, people not having jobs – that really significantly contributed to it.”

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When asked specifically what issues her party should prioritize as the midterm elections draw near, Dingell said, “The issues we need to be talking about, that I tell our caucus and that our members are, are what people talk about every night when they sit down at the dining room table.”

“The issues that are on their mind is inflation, how much gas costs, what the cost of food is when they go to the grocery store,” Dingell said. “But I can also tell you that women are worried about their healthcare and the intrusion of people into what they believe are very personal decisions between them, their doctors, their faith, and whoever it is in their family that they choose to discuss it. That has become a dining room table issue.”

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