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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.

Between Trump’s never-ending scandals and Republican efforts to destroy health care and kowtow to the wealthy, Democrats around the country are fired up at the chance to take control of Congress in November.

“We are hungry to win in November,” said Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), in an interview with Shareblue Media. “We are hungry to take back the majority.”

Opposition to Trump, and the culture of corruption surrounding him and his Republican Party, is one motivating factor for both grassroots activists and members of Congress. Voters want a check on Trump, something his own party has refused to do.

“The rot in this administration is just appalling,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), speaking to Shareblue Media the day after former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to multiple charges, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty in federal court on eight separate charges. Himes leads the moderate New Democrat Coalition in Congress.

Himes and Pocan both emphasized the priority for Democrats to fix the damage Republicans have done to the health care system, which Pocan described as “death by a thousand cuts to the Affordable Care Act.”

Republicans initially tried to kick 23 million people off of the health care rolls last year, but that attempt was stymied by the Senate. Then Republicans inserted provisions into their tax scam, which resulted in drastically higher health care premiums and will cause millions of people to lose health insurance.

Republicans have vowed to try to repeal the ACA again if they keep the majority — an issue that Democrats are confident will help them.

“Health care is the driving force in this election,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told Shareblue Media in a previous interview, a statement backed up by plenty of polling. Democrats want to retake the House in order to expand access to health care.

“All of us are for universal health care,” says Himes, “even though there might be different visions of how we get there.”

Not only is health care getting more expensive under Republican control, but wages are falling as well. While Trump and Republicans passed a tax bill that showered the wealthy families and rich corporations with billions in tax breaks, middle-class families are being left behind.

Himes and Pocan want to win in November to change that trajectory, and help build an economy that puts working class families first.

Even as they come from different places on the political spectrum, both men dismissed misleading media narratives pitting “establishment” candidates against “progressive” candidates as efforts to sow division where none exist.

Himes noted that there is “absolutely no light” between him and his colleagues on the important issues. Pocan agreed, saying, “Our differences are far fewer than what we have in common.”

Heading into the home stretch of the 2018 midterms, a range of Democratic candidates around the country are generating buzz and excitement. New York candidate Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is energizing the progressive base, while the more moderate Rep. Conor Lamb (D-PA) won a stunning upset in a deep-red Pennsylvania special election.

Polling has consistently shown that Republicans are at serious risk of losing the House this November. Pocan, Himes, Pelosi, and Democratic candidates across the country are hungry to retake control of Congress and start the hard work of cleaning up the mess Trump and his party have made.