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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part II

Keith Ellison: The Next Dem Nominee Needs to Be More Like Trump

Alex Kormann /Star Tribune via AP

Let's not make the same mistakes in 2020 that Hillary did, shall we, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison pleaded with his fellow Democrats on Tuesday. Speaking to Newsweek at an event hosted by The Concordia Forum in London, Ellison shared his dos and don'ts for his party heading in to the next presidential election. Hillary Clinton's name often came up in the "don'ts" column.


The next nominee, Ellison insisted, can't ignore the swing states, even if he or she thinks it's in the bag. They also shouldn't make excuses for why they lost.

"Look, the Clinton team can make a lot of excuses as to why they lost to the worst candidate ever," Ellison said. "They can say it's the Russians and I'm sure all that factors in, but how are you going to justify not showing up at all in Wisconsin?"

"There's just no excuse for that and nobody made you do it," he continued. "Bernie [Sanders] didn't stop you from going to Wisconsin and Putin didn't stop you from going to Wisconsin. How are you going to explain that? You can put it on anybody you want, but you didn't show and that's it."

Today's 2020 Democratic hopefuls, Ellison said, "can either learn the lesson or you can just entrench yourself in not learning the lesson." But ultimately, he said, "the candidate who will win is going to be the candidate who touches the most people." (Newsweek)

Someone, Ellison noted, like Trump.

Trump may have been an unorthodox candidate, but no one can deny that he reached out to blue collar voters. He was rallying "all the time," Ellison acknowledged.


But, Ellison, who once served as the Democratic National Committee Deputy Chair, said their 2016 problems didn't end with their candidate. The Democratic Party dug themselves quite a hole by rolling out the red carpet for Clinton, while barely offering even a glass of water to popular competitors like Bernie Sanders.

"Our problem last time was that we had a coronation early on and people who weren't feeling Hillary Clinton just checked out," he recalled.

If you need more insight into how the DNC paved the way for Clinton to become the 2016 nominee, read former DNC interim chair Donna Brazile's book, Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns that Put Donald Trump in the White House.

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