President Barack Obama offered a vision for the Democratic Party’s future on a conference call Monday with party officials and donors, and said the incoming administration would face opposition if they tried to dismantle his own achievements.
Obama congratulated Hillary Clinton on her “history-making race” for the presidency early in the call.
“It was an unexpected loss. Expected losses are hard enough. Unexpected losses are just worse,” Obama said of Trump’s surprise victory on Election Day.
He also offered a view for the future of the Democratic Party, which he said needed to focus on Republican communities where its message wasn’t being heard.
“It means that we’re listening to each other, we’re reflecting, we’re asking tough questions, we’re respectful of different points of view, we’re basing our decisions on facts and careful analysis, we’re taking the long view, and we’re strategizing,” Obama said. “And in the months ahead, my hope is that we’re convening Democrats at every level, from the DNC to local wards and town committees, to assess where we’ve fallen short, and how we can build for elections not just in presidential years but every year.”
“The challenge we have is that, partly because of geographic distribution, there are big chunks of the country that just aren’t hearing us. and they won’t hear us if we aren’t showing up,” he added.
He seemed to acknowledge that in some states, such as Pennsylvania and Michigan, Democrats including Clinton performed well with voters in cities but were blown away in rural counties.
“Even in communities that are rock-solid Republican, there’s a difference between us losing 60-40 and us losing 80-20. And that can swing an election,” he said.
And while Obama said he wouldn’t “spell out” his plans for after he leaves the White House, he warned against panic that “all the work we did suddenly gets stripped away” in a Trump administration.
“Let me tell you something,” Obama said. “We got more done than any administration in the last who-knows-how-many decades, if they roll back 15 or 20 percent of that, we’re still 80 percent ahead. And that’s not going to be as easy as I think some people feel.
Obama didn’t address the developing field of potential Democratic National Committee chairs during the call.