Democrats outside the Beltway wish they’d remember how the party retook the House and gained ground in state capitals last year with a rigorous focus on health care and the economy.

With all the infighting and intraparty intrigue in recent weeks — most recently over the prospect of impeaching the president — many Democrats in the states are beginning to worry the party is losing its grip on its message, potentially paving the way to Donald Trump’s reelection.

The anxiety reverberated far from Washington this week, as the nation’s governors gathered here for their annual summer meeting.

“Nationally, the focus has been on last week’s hearings and quote-unquote oversight, the question of impeachment, the effectiveness of Trump to make it about … the four [congresswomen who constitute the “squad”],” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday. “That’s been the zeitgeist, and so Trump being the master of deflection and distraction … it’s been hard for the Democrats to sort of hold that message.”

[Read more]