House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in a press conference Friday, downplayed Democrat losses in the House, pointing to her party’s lead over both President Donald Trump and Republicans in the popular vote as evidence of a “great victory.”
Pelosi made the comment in response to questions about “what happened,” presumably referring to the fact that House Democrats, according to projections by The Associated Press, lost seven House seats in the election, while Republicans picked up eight, including one lost by a Libertarian representative. Counting was still underway on Thursday in four races—two in California, one in Iowa, and one in New York.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), in a Nov. 12 news conference, his first after Election Day, touted the gains Republicans made in the election and said the poor showing of Democrats in the House show that American voters took a decisive stand against socialism.
McCarthy said the election “was a mandate against socialism. It was a mandate against defunding the police. It was a mandate against wasting a majority that the Democrats have done for the last Congress.”
In a follow-up interview with Fox News, McCarthy further clarified this perspective, saying, “Voters were given a clear choice between socialism and freedom. They chose freedom.”
Pelosi said she expected the battle for votes for Democrats would be harder in this election because Trump was on the ballot.
“It was, and so we will lose some, a few of those seats,” she conceded.
Pelosi, who was nominated by Democrats to run for a fourth term as House speaker, said last week that Democrats would subject themselves to some soul-searching regarding their painful losses in the wake of polls that projected a much stronger performance.
During s caucus meeting held by telephone days after Election Day, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) said “something went wrong” and blamed polling inaccuracy on incorrect modeling of the electorate.
“They all pointed to one political environment, but voters who turned out looked a lot like 2016,” she said, according to The New York Times, and vowed to take a “deep dive” to draw conclusions about the Democrats’ disappointing performance.