When the new Congress convenes on Tuesday, Ohio Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur will become the longest-serving woman in its history. Yet after 40 years, she sometimes feels like an outsider.
Not because she’s a woman or now in the minority party in the House. It’s that she’s from Middle America, and represents a district populated by working-class folks — a place and people many colleagues have forgotten, Kaptur said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“This is a burden I’ve carried my entire career. It’s a problem in both parties because the leadership tends to come from the coasts and we here in the big middle of the country are not well understood,” she said.
Republicans and Democrats are being forced to confront critical questions about the people and policies they want to represent them as the next election season roars into view.
For Democrats, much depends upon Joe Biden and whether the president will follow through on his plan to seek reelection. Republicans face contentious leadership battles inside their new House majority and at the Republican National Committee.
But former President Donald Trump will be central in virtually every conversation as the GOP enters what will likely be a nasty and crowded presidential primary that begins in earnest this spring.
The threat of political violence still hangs over American politics and next year’s elections.
Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan, sworn in for a second term Sunday, called the sentencing last week of two men convicted of plotting to kidnap her “just,” while urging both parties to confront threats and violent rhetoric.
“Whether it is someone harassing Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh or Congressman Fred Upton here in Michigan, or me, or our attorney general, or secretary of state, it’s unacceptable,” she told CNN’s Kaitlan Collins in an interview the day she was sworn in. “But I do think it’s important that people on both sides of the aisle, who care more about our democracy than their political agenda, stand up and take it on.”
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