Democrats held on to their House majority but lost five seats while Republicans won six and secured their Senate majority, barring a major upheaval in the second round of elections in Georgia.
Each side of the party blames the other for the poor results, which came after four years of chaos in the White House under Donald Trump. Left-wing Democrats say the party’s bid on progressive causes was not strong enough.
Meanwhile, centrist Democrats say the left’s “socialist” message discourages Americans living outside major cities and urban areas.
Anger has been brewing within the party in recent days and centrist Democrats say that with Mitch McConnell remaining as the Senate majority leader, the party cannot afford to name figures seen as socialist.
“The Biden administration must be a lot more sensitive to where you are from if you look at members of Congress,” Gerry Connolly, representative of Virginia’s 11th Congressional District told the publication. “We cannot afford to put seats at risk. “
The House Democrats, weary of their small advantage, are reluctant to bet on a competitive election next year, which could reduce their majority even further.
President-elect Biden has suggested he could nominate a few cabinet candidates ahead of Thanksgiving as he pursues his transition plans, despite the outgoing president’s refusal to admit defeat.
Delaware senator and longtime Biden ally Chris Coons is rumored to be among the favorites to take on the post of Secretary of State, the main role in the cabinet. But he has so far been hesitant about his chances.
Senator Coons is viewed by Biden as someone who can get down to the ground and do business, a skill set that could prove vital to the incoming administration.
“If he surprises me by asking me to consider being in his cabinet, I would be honored to do so,” Senator Coons said in response to speculation. It’s a time when the people who can ensure bipartisanship in the Senate are at a premium, and I need you to stay there. “”
Meanwhile, Mr Biden has vowed to move forward on securing the “right to work” and downplayed the outgoing president’s refusal to face the inevitable.
He described Mr. Trump’s stance as nothing more than an “embarrassing” mark on his legacy, while predicting that Republicans on Capitol Hill would ultimately come to terms with the reality of Biden’s victory. Republican resistance, Biden said, “doesn’t change the dynamic at all in what we’re capable of doing.”
Additional briefings “would be helpful,” he added, but “we don’t see anything slowing us down.”
The measured comments come as Mr. Biden prepares to face dueling national crises that actively threaten the health, safety and economic security of millions of Americans, regardless of the political debate.
Coronavirus infections, hospitalizations and deaths are increasing, the economy faces the prospect of long-term damage, and the country’s political and cultural divisions may worsen.
Additional reporting by Associated Press