House Democrat’s doomsday prediction on party divide: ‘If we don’t hang together, we … will hang separately’

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., made a gloom prediction for the Democratic Party’s electoral future Monday as he implored the moderates and progressives within the party to come together and bridge the stark divide between them.

During an appearance on MSNBC’s “Deadline: White House,” Connolly argued that last week’s Republican victory in Virginia’s gubernatorial race showed Democrats were headed for “enormous trouble” in the 2022 midterms, and that the only way for them to recover was to stop the disfunction within the party. 

Nicolle Wallace and Gerry Connolly speak on MSNBC. 

Nicolle Wallace and Gerry Connolly speak on MSNBC. 
(Screenshot/MSNBC)

WILL THE DEMOCRATS’ DIVIDE BE THEIR DOWNFALL?

“Somebody has to explain how a ten percentage election margin of Joe Biden one year ago evaporated last Tuesday here in Virginia,” Connolly told former Democratic Missouri Senator turned MSNBC analyst Claire McCaskill. “That means Democrats ought to go to DEFCON 2. Everybody on deck. This is a serious moment for us politically.”

“We can recover, but we’re not going to recover if we continue to show the kind of disfunction that led up to the successful passage Friday of the infrastructure bill,” he added. 

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin speaks during his election night party at a hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, U.S., November 3, 2021.

Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin speaks during his election night party at a hotel in Chantilly, Virginia, U.S., November 3, 2021.
(REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst)

TULSI GABBARD TO DEMOCRATS: ‘STOP TRYING TO DIVIDE US’

Connolly argued that he didn’t yet sense an urgency amongst party members to work together and bounce back from the election loss, citing the progressive Democrats who voted against the bi-partisan infrastructure bill last week because they “didn’t trust” assurances from moderate Democrats that they would vote for the upcoming social spending bill.

“We can’t have that. Our margins are too thin. We’ve got to have unity. And we’ve got to understand the old adage: If we don’t hang together, we most assuredly will hang separately,” he said.

Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) gestures during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on "Legislative Proposals to Put the US Postal Service on Sustainable Financial Footing" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., February 24, 2021. Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS

Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) gestures during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on “Legislative Proposals to Put the US Postal Service on Sustainable Financial Footing” on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., February 24, 2021. Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS
(Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS)

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Connolly later stressed to host Nicolle Wallace that Democrats couldn’t continue losing rural counties and towns by large margins, such as happened in Virginia, in order to remain competitive in future elections. 

“When you look at what we did just a year ago, it was a huge swing. And it’s one that if it’s replicated nationwide would spell enormous trouble for us in the midterms. That’s why I say we’ve got to go to DEFCON 2,” he said.

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