Friday on CNN, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL ) said if the Democratic Party would “perpetually be in the minority” if they ignored jobs and the economy to further embrace identity politics.
Partial transcript as follows:
BASH: Why do you think the Democratic Party is losing so many white working-class voters? The very voters that were the backbone of the Democratic party for generations?
BUSTOS: I think the feeling among the working class folks that we are not focusing on what’s important to them. That is, are we talking about making sure that their wages can go up? Are we talking about the strength of the middle class and do we have the policies that support that? Are we acknowledging that their wages are not what they were when we had better times around here?
BASH: The answer is no?
BUSTOS: They don’t feel that way.
BASH: For your colleagues who are trying to figure out what your secret sauce is, how you talk to a Trump voter and relate to a Trump voter in the way that Democrats have not been able to do, what’s the answer?
BUSTOS: Be in the moment. Listen to people. I like to say we have been made with two ears and one mouth. We should use that proportionally.
BASH: A lot of Democrats come from districts — most Democrats come from districts where the left rules and where racial politics are real and identity politics are real.
BUSTOS: What I would say to that if we as a Democratic Party want to perpetually be in the minority then ignore talking about jobs and the economy. That’s how we will perpetually be in the minority. We have a program called build the bench. I was vice chairman of recruitment the last election cycle, so I travel all over the country working with candidates and recruiting candidates to run for Congress. We discovered that we were struggling in the districts to find candidates that really fit the districts.
BASH: Why is that? Did they just not identify as Democrats?
BUSTOS: Well, in some cases they were not made to feel welcome by the Democratic Party. I don’t believe in a litmus test. I believe we are a big tent party and we have to act like that. It doesn’t mean we are going to be on the same page on every issue.
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