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Democratic retirements continue to mount ahead of next year’s 2022 midterm elections which are already being heavily handicapped in Republicans’ favor, thanks to a number of factors not the least of which is President Biden’s rising unpopularity.

Long-serving Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-Ore.) is the latest to announce his retirement which came on Wednesday “as [Democrats’] landmark bills are getting neutered in the Senate” and in the states, “they’ve already started a brutal round of redistricting as President Joe Biden’s approval rating nosedive,” Politico reported Thursday.

A number of Democrats, many of them senior party members who are also retiring, say that they have never seen so much vitriol between members.

“Let’s face it: The atmosphere in this place — it’s a hostile work environment,” retiring Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) told Politico. “We’ve got members threatening to kill other members and treating each other with such disrespect. … Things seem to be getting worse.”

He may have been referencing a recent anime posted to Rep. Paul Gosar’s (R-Ariz.) Twitter account in which ‘he’ was depicted in a character ‘killing’ a character featuring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s bust. But Democrats have been just as feisty; Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire said this week there could be a “revolution” if the Supreme Court reverses Roe v. Wade; and ‘AOC’ herself accused all Republicans of being racists after she said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) presided over the “KKK caucus.”

Politico noted further:

The retirement of DeFazio, chair of the House transportation committee, sent a shock wave through a caucus already clinging to its small majority after months of infighting. The departure of a high-profile gavel-wielder, whose seat became much safer in redistricting, has left many Democrats asking the obvious question: Who’s next?

Even those who plan to stick around for another term are less than enthusiastic about it.

“If you’ve been here a long time, it gets old after a while,” noted Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.). “Especially with redistricting and the likelihood of us potentially losing the majority, a lot of folks … are looking at this as the high-water mark.”

“This place is a slog,” noted Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.). “People maybe thought that being in the majority would solve all the problems, and it’s hard, too.”

Some senior Democrats have pointed to some bright spots including a recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill, a favorable redistricting map in Illinois, and the potential to pass a once-in-a-generation expansion of the federal social safety net — should it get enough votes in the Senate.

But at the same time, Democrats are increasingly coming to the realization that they are clinging to their small majorities by a thread, with most, Politico reported, under the impression the party will be in the minority again heading into 2023.

“Most people don’t get elected to be the goalie” in the minority,  Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), told Politico in recalling his previous time in the minority “Most people want to get out there and do something, and that’s why they run for Congress. And that’s the biggest challenge.”

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