Democrats say jobs not war will determine 2010 elections
In a word, that’s what a top Democrat attributes his party’s loss of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 1994 election after a 40-year reign.
Looking ahead to next November’s election, Hoyer said, “we are not asleep at the switch — as we were” in 1994.
Democrats are busy gearing up for a tough battle with Republicans, who lost the House back to Democrats in 2006, and are itching to return to power. “Democrats have been working very hard from the beginning of the year with the realization that next year will be a significantly contested year,” Hoyer told reporters.
Democrats control the House, 258-177, and face a headwind. The party in power typically loses congressional seats in the first election after a new president takes over.
Hoyer declined to offer any Election Day prediction other than, “I don’t think we are going to lose the majority.”
The chief issue is expected to be the economy, which features a jobless rate of 10.2 percent, the highest in 26 years.
The American people know that President Barack Obama inherited the ailing economy from his predecessor, Republican President George W. Bush, but the public is also demanding better fiscal times, Hoyer said.
“Americans have a lot of angst, a lot of anger, a lot of fear, a lot of concern about the economy,” he said. “Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican or an independent, all the polls show that jobs are the major issue.”
The Democratic Congress has helped slowdown job loss but needs to prompt overall employment growth, he said. “If jobs don’t get into the positive numbers, people are going to continue to be concerned and when they are concerned, they’re looking for someone new.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in a separate appearance, noted concern about the escalation of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But Pelosi said she, too, expects the economy to be the top issue in next year’s election.
And she indicated she doesn’t expect her party’s liberal and largely anti-war base to turn its back on congressional Democrats because of the troop buildup.
“I believe that the Democratic base, as well as the Republican base and the independent base, is interested in jobs, jobs, jobs,” Pelosi said. “That is what we are all focused on.”
Photo credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas (Hoyer chats with Pelosi on Capitol Hill)