Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) has said she feels like she’s an outsider in her own party due to her aversion to play into identity politics, while also noting the underreported empathy problem Democrats are facing. They don’t care about the working class. They haven’t for a long time—and it was simply because, in her opinion, Democrats stopped talking to them. Over time, the insufferable legions of the professional left, urban-based, overly educated, and condescending as hell, took over the party. They don’t care about the economic hardship in rural America. To them, these people are leeches, vestiges of the old world, and a bunch of racists.
At The Atlantic‘s Washington Ideas Forum, Dingell was asked about Hillary Clinton’s new book "What Happened," in which she said she stayed up all night and read it. She then discussed the disconnect between her party and the rest of the country, namely how Democrats were high-fiving over the special counsel appointment regarding Russia. No one cares about that. Not in Dingell’s district or elsewhere. Even in deep-blue Connecticut, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy said that his constituents aren’t talking about it.
Another thing that angers Dingell is the notion that Trump voters are racist.
“I get furious when people say all Trump voters are racist, they’re not,” she said. They’re worried about jobs and the economy, which totally went over the heads of Democrats last year.
The person conducting the interview, Bloomberg’s Margaret Carlson, also asked what can the 2020 Democratic candidates do to reach out to the white working class voters, given how the party has become elitist, bi-coastal, and more regional. Dingell simply said just listen (via NTK Network):
Dingell shared how people once thought that if they worked hard they would have a secure retirement, but that no longer is certain after the 2008 financial crisis.
“People haven’t forgotten that economic fear in their hearts and souls a decade later,” Dingell told Carlson. “Donald Trump came into Michigan and went into other states … and showed an empathy that we’d better learn how to show again.”
“[Trump] showed that he got it, he understood, he’s somebody that listens,” Dingell concluded. “That’s what Democrats have to do, learn how to show that empathy and understand how people are feeling.”
Dingell also recalled how people thought she was nuts when he said how Michigan was in play. Hillary never really ventured into the Rust Belt, which proved fatal. Her primary opponent at the time, Bernie Sanders, was in her district at least ten times. Clinton was AWOL. Her campaign eventually did venture into her area, asking the congresswoman to accompany Bill Clinton to a grocery store. And you wonder why Hillary lost Michigan in the general and the Democratic primary. Sanders not only won Michigan, but also Wisconsin. Maybe that was the massive red flag that Clintonites should have seen as a warning: get back in touch with white working class voters. It was ignored. The Rust Belt was ignored and Clinton paid the price for it. It wasn’t because of Russia, James Comey, sexism, or the media. It was because Hillary Clinton was a bad candidate, a bad campaigner, and had no message for voters other than ‘look at what Donald Trump said on Access Hollywood and oh yeah—if you support him, you’re deplorable.’
Oh, and Ms. Dingell, when you couldn't think of a single Hillary accomplishment, maybe that was a clue too.