Katherine Clark, assistant speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, offered insights on the 2022 midterm elections, providing reasons for hope, but cautioning us about the work ahead to elect Democrats in November. “We are the ones who are going to have to fight for this majority,” she said. “These are the days that matter.”
Clark spoke with more than 180 people at a special virtual event organized by Together We Elect, a project of Left of Center PAC.
The message: Focus on the positive
Congressional Democrats need to gain voters’ support. Clark said, “We’ve got to do the most good we can to help the most people.” Childcare access and universal pre-K are supported even in the business community since they are crucial to the country’s economic recovery. Clark added that Democrats can’t give up on climate change legislation either, “despite Joe Manchin.”
The Democratic Party also must keep the Republican failures in sharp focus – voting against middle-class tax cuts, for example – and continue to expose the Big Lie. “We have to push back and correct the record,” she said. “This is going to be a very difficult cycle, but we have a lot to tell the American people. Not only what they stand to gain in protecting our democracy, but what they stand to lose if they vote Republican.”
Redistricting: Cause for optimism
And, although Republicans have engineered new, unfair Congressional districts, the work done by Democrats, including independent commissions and legal challenges, has meant that the results are much better than expected. She pointed to specific events, such as federal judges ruling that the Republican-drawn maps in Alabama violate the Voting Rights Act and must be redrawn.
Clark responded to questions. One participant asked which are the most critical House races. Redistricting has strengthened certain Democratic incumbents, but other newly drawn districts spell trouble. Among the more vulnerable are Daniel Kildee, Michigan 5th district; Dina Titus, Nevada 1st; Josh Gottheimer, New Jersey 5th; and Cong. Tom Malinowski, New Jersey 7th, who faces a particularly hard race because of redistricting, Clark said.
“What we know is that all of these races are going to be close. It’s going to be (about) turnout. It’s going to be (about) how we can connect with people,” she said.
Taking action: Opportunities abound
Together We Elect leaders spoke about effective actions that volunteers can access to join the fight to hold the House and Senate. Volunteer to Volunteer (V2V) asks volunteers to reach out to other volunteers to inspire them to act. Another option for volunteers is becoming an Action Coach, helping others find effective actions that suit the individual volunteer. Nearly 100 people responded to a poll held during the Zoom event, saying that they want to get involved in volunteering with Together We Elect or its actions.
Event emcee Michael Ansara of Together We Elect admitted that the road to Democratic success in the midterms will require a unified effort. “Yes, it will be harder than it was in 2020, but it is possible – if we do the work.”
If you missed the Jan. 25 event with Congresswoman Katherine Clark, you can access the video here.