Democratic retirements continue to mount ahead of next year’s 2022 midterm elections which are already being heavily handicapped in Republicans’ favor, thanks to a number of factors not the least of which is President Biden’s rising unpopularity.
Long-serving Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.) is the latest to announce his retirement which came on Wednesday “as [Democrats’] landmark bills are getting neutered in the Senate” and in the states, “they’ve already started a brutal round of redistricting as President Joe Biden’s approval rating nosedive,” Politico reported Thursday.
A number of Democrats, many of them senior party members who are also retiring, say that they have never seen so much vitriol between members.
“Let’s face it: The atmosphere in this place — it’s a hostile work environment,” retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) told Politico. “We’ve got members threatening to kill other members and treating each other with such disrespect. … Things seem to be getting worse.”
He may have been referencing a recent anime posted to Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-Ariz.) Twitter account in which ‘he’ was depicted in a character ‘killing’ a character featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bust. But Democrats have been just as feisty; Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said this week there could be a “revolution” if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade; and ‘AOC’ herself accused all Republicans of being racists after she said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) presided over the “KKK caucus.”
Politico noted further:
The retirement of DeFazio, chair of the House transportation committee, sent a shock wave through a caucus already clinging to its small majority after months of infighting. The departure of a high-profile gavel-wielder, whose seat became much safer in redistricting, has left many Democrats asking the obvious question: Who’s next?
Even those who plan to stick around for another term are less than enthusiastic about it.