Terry McAuliffe (Democratic candidate for Virginia governor) called Tuesday on Washington leaders from both parties, including President Joe Biden, to “get their act in order” while pushing Senate Democrats, if necessary, to end the filibuster and enact party priorities on infrastructure spending.
McAuliffe’s harsh comments in an interview with The Associated Press just three weeks prior to Virginia’s election. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican newcomer to the race, will be facing McAuliffe in this race. This is a crucial early test for the Democrats’ political strength during Biden’s first year as president.
McAuliffe is motivated by the urgency of campaigning on a comprehensive list of his party’s achievements, as polls indicate that the race may be close. McAuliffe’s campaign confirmed Tuesday that Biden, former President Barack Obama, would rally voters in the state at separate events later in the month.
McAuliffe is deeply disappointed by the party’s failure to keep key campaign promises, despite the support from outside. His party took control of both the White House and both the chambers of Congress in January. The 64-year old McAuliffe lamented Democrats’ inability protect voting rights from a wave Republican-backed legislation. However, he reserved his sharpest remarks for the stalled federal Infrastructure package.
McAuliffe stated, “They all need to get their act together so they can vote.” McAuliffe was asked if he was calling Biden out, and he replied, “I put everyone there.”
McAuliffe’s frustration is a sign of a larger concern for Democrats nationally as they enter the first midterm election campaign under the Biden presidency. President Trump’s approval ratings are declining, and there are signs that rank-and-file Democrats don’t feel energized enough to vote in Virginia and other states.
In Virginia, where Trump lost 10 points in the fall, a bad outcome for Democrats would signal a more difficult election next year. Next year’s elections will be much harder, with control of Congress and many governor’s offices at stake.
With Washington’s legislative agenda stalled, Democratic voters aren’t excited about Virginia’s off year election. This is especially with Trump out of office and not on the ballot. Trump has supported Youngkin but has been very low-profile in his involvement in the Virginia election.
McAuliffe stated, “I tell Democrats that Donald Trump wants a win here.” “If Glenn Youngkin wins it’s a win by Donald Trump and you’re going start his political comeback.”
McAuliffe discussed the sensitive debate about Senate rules, which allow the minority party, through the filibuster, to block legislation that does not receive at least 60 votes. Biden stated last week that Democrats were considering changing the filibuster rules to speedily approve the lifting of the nation’s debt limit, and to avoid a catastrophic credit default.
McAuliffe stated that Democrats should do whatever it takes to achieve the infrastructure package, the debt limit and voting rights.
They have to do their job. They are trusted by many people. Do your job. He said, “I don’t care about what you call it or how you use it.” “I support doing what the Senate needs to do to pass meaningful legislation to move this country forward.”