As the Biden administration passes its 50-day mark, leaders and stalwarts in both the nation's major parties can find ample reason to fret for the future.
For starters, the Republican Party has its freshly defeated president, now facing legal scrutiny, demanding that he control the fundraising. Donald Trump may be the biggest of all Republicans in Name Only. Actual goals and programs never seem to make it into his pronouncements from Mar-a-Lago any more than when he was tweeting from the White House.
So far, the Trump-era party bosses endorse his "me-first" approach to the post-presidency. Allies including Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, issued an obedient response. Trump has discouraged Republicans from sending money to "people that do not have the GOP’s best interests in mind," those who he condemns as "fools" and "RINOs."
That's typical for Trump. But nobody has explained how settling scores — targeting Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) or Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) for supporting Trump's impeachment — will serve the people or help the GOP recoup its losses of the Senate and House during Trump's term.
Benjamin Ginsberg, an elections lawyer who represented past Republican presidential nominees, lamented the death of the "ideas factory" in the GOP in an interview with Politico.
"Tell me what the innovative Republican policies have been of late," Ginsberg said.
But Democrats who won power in a backlash against Trump worry about maintaining their tenuous hold in Washington.
Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) leads a razor-thin Senate majority that depends on keeping Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in the same tent as Liz Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, which won final congressional approval Wednesday, seemed to have enough of a consensus among ordinary Americans to prevail. But to push it through in the Senate, Schumer needed to make concessions to Manchin, whose priorities are not always those of the party.
On the other end of the Democratic spectrum, Sanders allies over the weekend won control of the Nevada Democratic Party in leadership elections. They defeated the centrist faction headed by former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
This local leftward lurch, backed by the Democratic Socialists of America's Las Vegas chapter, comes as GOP strategists are working to flip enough purple-state districts to recapture the House next year.
Traditionally, there are risks to fielding candidates in competitive districts who do not appear "moderate."
The wider aims differ for the national parties. One fights to return to power, the other struggles to hang on. Following a high-anxiety election, a new period of internal jitters on both sides may have just begun.