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Trump mocks Democratic leaders Pelosi and Schumer

23 June 2017

Editor's note: James A. Barnes is a member of the CNN Decision Desk and co-author of the forthcoming 2018 Almanac of American Politics.

Democratic Party divisions were on glaring display Wednesday as a special election loss in a wildly expensive Georgia House race left bitter lawmakers turning their anger on their own leaders.

The Democrats expended vast amounts of money, celebrity, and political capital in support of Jon Ossoff, an attractive young candidate running in a district filled with high-income, highly educated voters.

But beating the spread hasn't gotten Democrats any new seats in Congress.

Democrats threw tens of millions at Jon Ossoff, their 30-year-old newbie candidate, documentary filmmaker and former congressional aide who lives outside of Georgia's Sixth Congressional District. (Pro-tip: it wasn't so hot in the presidential election, either.) Or should it try to have something else to stand on and sell as a unified party vision? In 2007, talk show host and actress Oprah Winfrey formally endorsed Barack Obama for president.

The night did not start off well for Ossoff.

Ossoff obtained the most amount of votes during the special election held in April, but failed to win the election by majority, forcing a runoff against Handel.

UT alumnus working for Rep. Roger Williams injured in shooting
He said never thought he'd go to a baseball practice and "have to dodge bullets". "The Lord worked yesterday, he saved us". Congressman Roger Williams was on crutches after sustaining ankle and leg injuries when he dove into a dugout for cover.

Pelosi says the Democratic base is energized, adding, "We must now put forth our message". Ossoff took DeKalb County with 58 percent of the vote. She received 41,259 votes to Ossoff's 26,212 in Cobb. The battle came down to Fulton County portion of the district, where nearly half of the electorate resided.

The White House was quick to paint Handel's victory as a personal triumph for Trump. All of those races were in territory favorable to Republicans.

Handel's tough race, combined with closer-than-usual GOP House victories in Kansas, Montana and SC, suggests Trump will dominate the coming election cycle, forcing Republicans to make peace with him, for better or worse. In the end, the Republican - and in the eyes of many, Trump - won handily.

But after the stinging defeats in SC and Georgia, Democrats and liberal pressure groups are searching for what went wrong.

Several prominent Democrats said the party needs to rethink its approach heading into next year's midterm congressional elections, when Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to regain control of the House of Representatives. The better news is that in South Carolina's Fifth District, Archie Parnell, the Democrat, was only three points away from winning!

"These are really important, but when you're going to be a national party, you need to have a national message". The special elections have been held in Kansas, Montana, Georgia and SC, districts that are heavily conservative. Kamala Harris demanded of Democratic activists at a May state party convention in Sacramento. Democrats lost two other contested special elections earlier this year for Republican-held seats in conservative Kansas and Montana. The problem is that the former just aren't that into voting.

But the GOP's ideal 4-0 contested special-election record in 2017 now gives Capitol Hill Republicans some cover to pass their ObamaCare repeal-and-replace bill, a major tax-reform package and other legislative priorities. That's an indication of how weakened the Democratic Party has become in the last decade at the state and local level, especially in red states.