Around 20 minutes after news organizations declared that Republicans had won a nationally watched US House special election in Georgia, US Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, was already on Twitter.
He said the defeat was a “wake up call for Democrats” and asked that they “stop rehashing 2016 and talk about the future.”
A few minutes later, he followed up with another tweet, saying, “We need a genuinely new message, a serious jobs plan that reaches all Americans, and a bigger tent not a smaller one. Focus on the future.”
Moulton followed up a few hours later by sending around a press release endorsing eight veterans running as Democratic candidates around the country. (None are from New England.)
“While being a veteran is not a litmus test for serving in Congress, we need more service-driven leaders who are prepared to put country over party and people over politics,” Moulton said in a statement. “The American people deserve leaders who are ready, willing, and able to work together to deliver real results.”
Whether Moulton is right that the national Democratic Party needs a jobs plan and bigger tent is something he will have to argue with others about. But what Seth Moulton is definitely right about is the right move for Seth Moulton.
One way to tell what a particular politician is up to is to analyze where they eventually want to go. For some, it is staying put in their particular jobs and gaining power by seniority. For others, it is jumping for a higher office.
In Moulton’s case, there are three scenarios being discussed: He could make a play at leadership within the US House, run for US Senate against fellow Democrat Ed Markey in 2020, or even run for president. Moulton ruled out a run for governor earlier in the year. That there are so many options on the table shows just how politically aggressive Moulton has become.
Moulton has time to decide his next move. But in the short term, the smart play is to do two things: get his name in the press and raise money.
Tweeting aggressively with pointed comments, going on cable news as much as he does, and spending a lot of time fund-raising only puts him in a better position for his next political step.
As for the Democratic party at large, well, that might be up to someone else. Moulton declined to run for party chair.
James Pindell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell or subscribe to his Ground Game newsletter on politics:http://pages.email.bostonglobe.com/GroundGameSignUp.