Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair Jaime Harrison said the Democrat Party has some work to do regarding its image with working America, calling on Democrats to “battle the damage to the Democratic brand.”
Appearing on an episode of the Daily Beast’s podcast The New Abnormal, Harrison said the party is having trouble with its image with “some of the folks who are core at the base of our party.”
“It’s not even just with Republicans,” he said. “The Democrat brand with some of the folks who are core at the base of our party is not the greatest.”
Harrison claimed to have been the victim of mischaracterization in his bid against Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), accusing the incumbent and “his crew of dark money” falsely labeling him as a proponent of defunding the police.
“My grandfather on my stepfather’s side was in the Detroit police department for 40 years. So I don’t believe in that,” he said despite the fact that many of the most outspoken leftists in his party profoundly support such an initiative.
Nonetheless, he is calling Democrats to “battle the damage to the Democratic brand.”
“We have to take credit and claim the things that we will have gotten done over the course of this next two years. We’re going to do a lot for rural America,” he said before touting the “American Rescue Plan,” which he said will do “so much” for rural communities.
“Those communities are also just as diverse as urban communities. We also need to make sure that we’re listening to them,” he said, emphasizing the importance of delivering for rural America, which he said will grow the Democrat base and “persuade a few other folks to take a look at us.”
Democrats have been trying to strike a balance as radical left members of the party work to advance their proposals with the Biden White House. Biden has, in many ways, complied, canceling the Keystone XL Pipeline, rejoining the Paris Agreement, and rolling back many of President Trump’s key immigration policies, prompting a surge on the southern border and reigniting fears over the impact mass immigration will have on American workers.
Radical positions, such as defund the police, remained a point of contention following the 2020 general election as Democrats failed to grow their majority in the House.
“We have to commit to not saying the words ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) told fellow Democrats following the election, which saw Republicans picking up seats in the narrowly Democrat-led House.
“We need to not ever use the words socialist or socialism ever again. It does matter, and we have lost good members because of that,” she added.
The Biden White House, meanwhile, has continued to court the far-left wing of the party, prompting concern among more moderate Democrats. White House chief of staff Ron Klain has engaged with leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) and far-left members of the “Squad” in recent weeks as they aim to push their agenda items, including ending the filibuster and enacting a $15 minimum wage, among other priorities.