Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in a special election in Georgia’s special election for its District 6 House seat. There have been 4 special elections in 2017, and all of the seats have gone to Republicans.
District 6 in Georgia has been considered a Republican stronghold in previous years until the 2016 presidential election came around. Donald Trump had only a 1 point lead in the general election. Even in the Congressional polls, Jon Ossoff and Karen Handel were running an extremely close race.
Karen Handel’s main point of attack was that Jon Ossoff does not even live inside of the District he was running for office in. Many probably felt uneasy about this and decided to vote for her due to her sense of ~closeness~ to constituents. Jon Ossoff branded himself as a Democrat who was willing to work with both sides of the aisle in Congress to get things done. A good idea on the surface, but hard to believe.
Another reason why Jon Ossoff did not win is that Democrats are often viewed as radical leftists who are not productive in Congress under the Trump administration. A powerful example of this is how Senate Democrats have been blocking hearings over things such as the repealing and replacing of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Although this is obviously not true about all Democrats who are running or are currently in office, it is only the best decision for a constituency to vote for people are going to actually do their job in Congress. Democrats as a whole do not have as clear of a message as to what their agenda is- besides stopping the Trump administration.
Even though you can also say Republicans do not possess a crystal clear platform, a majority are still able to come behind Donald Trump in some way, shape, or form. Saying since the Republicans have an obvious figurehead, it is substantially easier to unite the party. If the Democrats can find a person in office- most likely a moderate Democrat would work best- to bring the party together and gain more support, the success they will have will increase (which would be reflected upon in the 2018 Congressional elections). This person will have to want much more than to “Stop Trump”. A figurehead would need to have articulate positions on healthcare, the economy, and international/ domestic affairs.
If the Democratic party wants to start gaining ground, then their Congresspeople will need to start by actually doing their jobs. It is hard to unite a group of people if their only goal is to be obstructionists.