Barack Obama believes that one of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election is because she ignored rural America.
During an hour-long interview with NPR, the president faulted Democrats for bypassing hard-hit rural states like Wisconsin and Iowa, which he won in 2012, during Clinton’s campaign.
“Democratic voters are clustered in urban areas and on the coasts so you’ve got a situation where they’re not only entire states but also big chunks of states where — if we’re not showing up — if we’re not in there making an argument, then we’re going to lose,” Obama said. “We can lose badly, and that’s what happened in this election.”
Obama said there is a “scrambled political landscape right now.”
“There are clearly failures on our part to give people in rural areas or in exurban areas a sense day-to-day that we’re fighting for them or connected to them,” he continued.
“Part of the reason it’s important to show up is because it then builds trust and it gives you a better sense of how should you talk about issues in a way that feel salient and feel meaningful to people.”
Obama — who campaigned for Clinton in North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania — said Democrats “ceded too much territory.”
“More work would have needed to be done to just build up that structure,” he said. “One of the big suggestions that I have for Democrats as I leave, and something that I have some ideas about is, how do we do more of that ground-up building?”