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Jared Golden unsure whether any Democrat can beat Trump in November

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Rep. Jared Golden (D-Maine) said Wednesday that he’s unsure what Democratic candidate could prevail over Donald Trump in November.

In his first interview since penning an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News, Golden stopped short of calling on President Biden to exit the presidential contest after his faltering debate performance. But he did predict that Biden would lose to Donald Trump in November. He added that he’s unsure whether Vice President Harris could beat Trump, either.

Asked whether he believes there is a Democrat who could prevail over Trump, Golden said, “I don’t know who can beat Trump in this current moment.”

And he panned the Biden campaign’s focus on safeguarding democratic principles as a winning message against Trump, calling it a “complete, abject failure.”

Golden, who sits in a district Trump won by roughly seven points in 2020, predicted that Biden would lose his Republican-leaning House district in November by a margin larger than Hillary Clinton did in 2016. He warned that a major loss in his district could be a warning sign for other vulnerable Democrats who have voted with the Biden agenda more often than he has.

Golden’s perspective comes as his fellow House Democratic colleagues continue to grapple with whether Biden should remain atop the Democratic ticket after a debate performance last week that has brought about more questions than reassuring answers from Biden’s orbit. Only one has so far publicly called on Biden to step aside: Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.).

Golden and Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-Wash.), who co-chair the centrist Blue Dog Coalition, both publicly said Tuesday that Biden would not fare well in their swing districts.

But they stopped short of calling for Biden to exit.

“I recognize that I’m in not in a position to make that decision for Joe Biden. He is,” Golden said. “What I can say is what I think is going to happen if he is the nominee.”

Golden offered that perhaps another Democrat could beat Trump. But he didn’t say who, and he was bearish on Harris’s chances given that he hasn’t heard from constituents about her and how she fares in his district.

“I would love someone running for president in either party or both candidates to be fresh faces, like young with new ideas, not retreads of the past,” Golden said. “And that’s not what we’ve been given by either party in Donald Trump and Joe Biden.”

Golden’s decision to speak out was not meant to coincide with Doggett’s. Though he did not watch the debate, Golden said he knew he would have to put out a statement about Biden “because it’s what everyone in America is thinking” and talking about. He said it was notable to him that former House speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on MSNBC on Tuesday that “it’s a legitimate question to say, ‘Is this an episode or is this a condition’ about the president.”

Golden’s message to his party goes beyond his warning about Biden and directly against a core argument Democrats are making. The Maine Democrat acknowledges the need to run local races but said he’s concerned that Democrats may be too keen on attacking Trump as a threat to democracy. He says, rather, that Democrats should be focusing on how their constituents are feeling economically and socially.

“The preferred campaign message of not just Joe Biden but a lot of Democrats that this election is about saving democracy happens to be a complete, abject failure. If you’re trying to appeal to, let’s say, just regular people or to, like, swing voters in swing states, it’s very clearly going to be about the economy, as it almost always is,” he said. “When you look at the last Congress, like, there’s plenty of good things that we did.”

Unlike most of his colleagues, Golden believes Democrats must tout the strength of American democracy — even though it was tested on Jan. 6, 2021. But he says the message should be that the system held because of government leaders who were willing to do the right thing and stand up to Trump and uphold the law. He believes Trump would be surrounded by similar people during a second Trump administration.

He echoes what many House Democrats have recognized since the debate: It’s imperative for them to win back the majority because they may be the only chamber that could act as a check on another Trump administration.

Golden stated, for instance, that the House could block a Republican majority’s attempts to reimpose Trump’s 2017 tax law, which slashed taxes for corporations and rich Americans.

“We’ve got good new laws that the Congress passed that we can run on. We should be talking about those things and reminding people, ‘Listen, when the Republicans are in control, like, you know what they do? They try and cut taxes for the rich,’” he said.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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