Obama's Message To Democrats During His Final Press Conference Of 2016 Is A Flashback To His Glory Days
In a press conference on Friday, President Obama gave Democrats advice on how to recover and rebuild the party in light of Donald Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton in November. He suggested that if Democrats want to be successful in future elections, they'll need to spend more time and effort reaching out to communities that don't traditionally vote Democrat to convince them of the merits of liberal policies, including in places where Democratic policies are actually effecting positive change. The president cited his own campaigns as an example of how to do this effectively.
"I think that we have to spend the most time on — because it's the think we have the most control over — is, how do we make sure that we're showing up in places where I think Democratic policies are needed, where they are helping, where they are making a difference, but where people feel as if they are not being heard?" Obama said. "And where Democrats are characterized as coastal, liberal, latte-sipping, you know, politically-correct, out of touch folks. We have to be in those communities, and I've seen that when we are in those communities, it makes a difference."
Obama went on to say that he did this effectively during his campaigns for the U.S. Senate and presidency.
"I became a U.S. Senator not just because I had a strong base in Chicago, but because I was driving downstate Illinois, and going to fish fries, and sitting in V.F.W halls, and talking to farmers," Obama said. "And I didn't win every one of their votes, but they got a sense of what I was talking about, what I cared about. That I was for working people. That I was for the middle class. That the reason I was interested in strengthening unions and raising the minimum wage and rebuilding our infrastructure and making sure that parents had decent child care and family leave was because my own family's history wasn't that different from theirs. Even if I looked a little bit different."
"Same thing in Iowa," the president added, referring to his come-from-behind victory in the Iowa caucuses during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
On Twitter, the reaction to Obama's speech was mixed. Some criticized him for striking too conciliatory of a tune toward Trump, while others praised his calm and professional demeanor.
"The question is, how do we rebuild that party as a whole, so that there's not a county in any state, I don't care how red, where we don't have a presence, and we're not making the argument?" Obama said. "Because I think we have a better argument."