- Mitch McConnell won’t offer a GOP legislative agenda before the 2022 midterms, according to Axios.
- McConnell reportedly feels that such an agenda would only become fodder for Democratic attacks.
- Kevin McCarthy feels differently and wants his members to articulate a vision to voters, per Axios.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has informed colleagues and donors that his caucus won’t offer a legislative agenda before the 2022 midterm elections, according to an Axios report.
The Kentucky Republican, who has served in the Senate for nearly 38 years, reportedly feels that the party should simply go after Democrats and their legislative policies — as opposed to the view of many donors and GOP operatives, who want to see a governing platform that would be implemented if the party can capture one or both chambers of Congress next year.
On November 16, McConnell met with GOP donors and lobbyists during a private function at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC, where the midterm elections were the talk of the event, according to Axios.
At the event, several lawmakers up for reelection next year — including Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, John Boozman of Arkansas, James Lankford of Oklahoma, and Rand Paul of Kentucky — met with donors and spoke about their respective races.
In a question-and-answer session, a donor reportedly told McConnell that people in the room could point out their differences with Democrats, but asked what platform the party would be presenting in order to win races next year.
According to a source who spoke with Axios, McConnell’s response fell along the lines that the party was not pursuing such a strategy.
Sources told the news outlet that McConnell’s thinking is that it isn’t wise to put out a legislative agenda ahead of midterm elections, and reportedly feels “vindicated” by having employed this mindset in the 2014 midterms, when Republicans won back control of the Senate during then-President Barack Obama’s second term.
However, some donors continue to be guided by the Republican’s Party 1994 “Contract with America,” which laid out a set of conservative governing principles that launched them to congressional majorities — with the election notably giving the GOP control of the House for the first time in 40 years.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California reportedly has a differing viewpoint than McConnell.
According to sources who spoke with Axios, McCarthy wants to deliver a GOP legislative agenda to the public before the midterms, and has already crafted some of the party’s desires in the “Parents Bill of Rights.”
During the Capitol Hill event, McConnell reportedly told the donor that the next Republican presidential nominee would be tasked with crafting the party’s agenda and emphasized that GOP lawmakers should focus on the “terrible” legislation being passed by Democrats, according to a source.
McConnell reportedly reflected on historical guideposts which show that the party in power suffers electoral losses in a new president’s first midterm election.
A source told Axios that McConnell “pushes back hard” against devising a GOP platform because he feels that it would only become fodder for Democratic attacks.
“One of the biggest mistakes challengers often make is thinking campaigns are about them and their ideas. No one gives a shit about that. Elections are referendums on incumbents,” the source said.
“Challengers need to keep the focus on what incumbents promised and point out how they failed to deliver and how that has negatively impacted voters’ lives,” the source added.
When asked about the event, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told Axios that assembling a singular platform might prove to be difficult.
“There’s some conversation that people would like to have some agreement that everybody runs on something. That sounds good, but it’s hard to do,” he said.
A spokesperson for McConnell declined to comment to Axios regarding the report.