Democrats Face Unity Hurdles As Party Looks Toward Future

REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Kerry Picket Political Reporter
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BALTIMORE — House Democrats gathered at the Hyatt Regency at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to talk about how to recover from the party’s devastating 2016 loss of the White House to President Donald Trump.

The caucus wants to recreate the environment it had when the party won the majority in 2006, but finding common ground between the base and party moderates is still a difficult hurdle to overcome.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi claims her party “has very strong unity,” telling reporters Thursday that calls for Trump’s impeachment and calls to work with the administration are “really on the sideline.”

California Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters has called for Trump’s impeachment while some Senate Democrats have met with Trump at the White House recently to discuss upcoming legislation.

Pelosi, instead, focused her fire on the White House. “So far we haven’t seen anything from the administration that would justify any kind of cooperation. They have put forth nothing for seven years they’ve been squawking about the Affordable Care Act. I don’t even think they know what it is or what they would do about it.”

According to sources, some progressive Democrats walked out of a Wednesday presentation that was set up by Third Way, a centrist think tank. A talk by Third Way’s vice president, titled “Perspectives,” was slammed by liberal organizations before the discussion even began.

“For House Democrats to seek advice from a Wall Street-funded think tank that preaches timidity, that shows them learning the exactly wrong lesson in the Trump era,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told The Washington Post. “I think Democrats need to fight more strongly, with backbone, and not let Trump steal the mantle of economic populism.”

Pelosi told reporters, when asked Thursday about the reported walk out, that she did not notice anyone walking out of the presentation.

“Members walk out for a variety of reasons. Some of them relate to personal hygiene. Some of them relate to, ‘I’ve got to call my mother or call my daughter,’ but people just walk out.”

She added, “You know I didn’t just see that. You’re telling me something I don’t know. I do not know that anybody walked out of the room because they might hear something. I think that probably they want to stay here what it is.”

Pelosi described the Third Way presentation as a break-down of 2016 election statistics showing where Clinton outperformed former President Obama and where Trump outperformed Obama.

“It was a data presentation. To use that as we’re not unified because we heard some data … that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re not talking about unanimity on every aspect of the daily life. We’re talking about harmony around a commitment to America’s working families,” she said.

In the meantime, leadership at the DCCC looked to focus on recruiting more Democratic candidates from rural districts.

“I’m looking at information specific to polling. We all know that pollsters across the country got a lot of information wrong. And as part of the polling reboot, we’ve asked pollsters to share with us what they got wrong and what they got right and where their polling was off, where their polling was on,” DCCC Chairman New Mexico Rep. Ben Ray Lujan said.

He said Democrats are looking to get their polling more accurate in rural and exurban areas.

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