MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Democrats need to prepare for an ongoing fight against Republicans at all levels of government, not just the White House, their newly appointed deputy national chairman said on Saturday.
"We can't just say it's all about Trump," Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., said at the New Hampshire Democratic Party's annual meeting.
Ellison, who lost his bid for chairman of the Democratic National Committee to former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, said the party had lost focus on state legislatures and governorships. Democrats, he said, need a cohesive national message that can inspire ordinary Americans.
"We've got to have a higher vision than just winning an election," he said. "When we set our sights as, really, agents and champions for the American people, people start feeling the flow."
New Hampshire Republicans, meanwhile, criticized Ellison as "out of touch" with a "dangerous worldview."
"New Hampshire Democrats are out of touch and out of line for embracing Keith Ellison's dangerous worldview," state GOP Chairwoman Jeanie Forrester said in a statement.
Ellison said he resists the idea that Trump is different than other Republicans and urged the crowd to keep an eye on what the GOP is doing at all levels. He slammed New Hampshire's Republican Gov. Chris Sununu for supporting a bill that would tighten the state's voter eligibility laws, among other policies.
"I think that (Trump) is a Republican on steroids," Ellison said. "He believes all the things that they believe, but he doesn't believe in watering it down or sugarcoating it."
Ellison took time to relish in House Republicans' failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act as well as the court's rejection of two Trump administration travel bans. But he told the crowd the fight to "literally save the nation" is just beginning.
"We gotta lace up," he said.