Republicans’ efforts to subject Democrats to the fallout of Kabul’s fall won’t necessarily hit voters – or instill fear in midterm candidates.
Why is this important: Axios visited Virginia’s 7th District last week, where Rep. Abigail Spanberger is running for re-election in a prominent district. She focused only on selling President Biden’s stimulus package and the bipartisan infrastructure deal that still finds its way into Congress.
- In conversations the member has had with her constituents in the Richmond area, Afghanistan has not been mentioned.
- It has garnered greater backlash for its efforts to bring broadband to rural areas.
- “We may not have Taliban, but with the Capitol uprising and partisanship, we don’t have a functioning government,” said Carena Ives, a 53-year-old restaurateur. “We have to focus on the house.
What they say : This is just proof, albeit anecdotal, that Biden’s handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan may not be the political stick Republicans are hoping for halfway through.
- “I don’t blame Trump. I don’t blame Biden because he continued the withdrawal. We can’t make the world perfect, ”said Annie Tobey, 61.
- Elyse Shoenig, 75, whose late husband was a Vietnam veteran, said upon seeing the footage of the fall of Kabul, she immediately remembered Saigon.
- When asked if this would affect the way she votes, she replied, “Not yet. But I will need to see the situation unfold.
Between the lines: Spanberger, 42, is a former CIA officer who defeated a Republican in 2018 to end the GOP’s 36-year grip on the district.
- She was narrowly re-elected in 2020, as Joe Biden squeaked by President Trump in the 7th arrondissement.
- Spanberger was put in the spotlight right after election day when a leaked phone conversation caught her criticizing the police fundraising rhetoric adopted by some Democrats.
- As if to channel the current thinking of his constituents, Spanberger hosted a roundtable focused on expanding broadband in a rural brewery. She also stopped by Carena’s Jamaican Grille to learn how the stimulus bill had helped keep the restaurant afloat.
Spanberger told Axios she was always ready for Afghanistan to be used as a political weapon.
- “[Opponents] will use anything for political leverage. They will use the fact that I drink decaffeinated rather than caffeinated coffee, but even the most engaged or disengaged voter recognizes that this is a complicated question, ”she said. declared.
- The member added that there is only a very small contingent of Americans who want to stay in Afghanistan.
- “Anyone who says, ‘That’s 100% wrong, so I’m not voting Democrats,’ well, didn’t that person want to leave? ‘
The MP did not visit Afghanistan while at the CIA, but worked on intelligence gathering for counterterrorism efforts in the Middle East.
- “There is no world in which we can see the collapse of Kabul at the hands of the Taliban and not think that we probably should have done something better, different,” she said.
Be smart: One voter, Immanuel Sutherland, 50, said: “I don’t want to rush to judge knowing this was a situation that will not be easy to get out of.”