Rep. Keith Ellison did not shy away from placing the blame on former President Obama for the Democratic Party’s recent losses.
At a University of Minnesota event Wednesday, moderator Rachel Stassen-Berger asked Ellison if he thought the former president “was responsible for some of the failures of 2016.”
“Yeah, he was,” Ellison replied.
While he noted that he is supportive of Obama and many of his policies, he acknowledged he “could have been a better party leader” –and that, he said, has “put his legacy in jeopardy.”
“Your legacy is not a building that he’s going to construct in Chicago housing his presidential papers,” Ellison continued. “His legacy is the work he’s done which I believe is tremendous. But given we lost a lot of statehouse seats, governorships, secretary of states, his true legacy is in danger and I think he can’t say that he wasn’t part of those losses. Who else, right?”
Ellison argued that Obama should have worked harder campaigning for congressional elections.
“He should have been far more out there in 2010, which was a year when we were going to be doing redistricting. He should’ve been campaigning like he was on the ballot and should have been very visible,” said the DNC deputy chair. “He’s great at getting himself elected but should’ve worked much more closely with Congress and I think in 2014 we had record low voter turnout….and I think that too really was a time when he needed to be visible and present and very engaged…he needed to raise money for state legislative races.”
Ellison is currently on a unity tour with DNC Chair Tom Perez and Sen. Bernie Sanders to “rally supporters and local grass-roots activists around a progressive agenda.”