BALTIMORE — Democratic Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge alleged that fear-mongering, not President Donald Trump’s economic message, won him the election.
Fudge said Democrats have been losing blue-collar voters over time and Trump managed to tap into their anxieties, which she feels gave him an edge with that demographic.
“What Donald Trump did was address them at a very different, and emotional, a racial level, a fear level an anger level,” she told reporters at the Democratic policy retreat Thursday. “He didn’t win to because he had an economic message. What did he ever tell people he was going to do. I’m a fix it?”
According to Fudge, Trump’s rhetoric led to misdirected anger at former President Barack Obama, which hurt her party during the 2016 cycle.
“It was that they made Barack Obama the person the focus of everything that they thought was wrong with this country,” she said. “They made Barack Obama the boogeyman for all intents and purposes, and so anger needs a focus. These people were angry but didn’t know who they were angry at — they made it him.”
She said he effectively tapped into emotions with a message that resonated with those who weren’t enthused by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s messaging.
“He (Trump) says ‘What do you got to lose’ to people in my communities,” Fudge continued. “Just dog whistle politics is what it was.”
With a number of districts Obama won in 2012 having flipped to Trump in 2016, Fudge said Democrats need to stop looking to election analytics and work on delivering their platforms in a way that will excite voters.
“I mean it’s a very different electorate this time than there was when Barack Obama ran as well. Barack Obama broaden the base of the Democratic Party in a way that no one had. But what it turns out, and we talked about this today, a lot of those were Barack Obama voters,” she said “They weren’t really Democratic voters, so I think you have to look at it in its totality and not just look at a broad number because sometimes data works. I mean we all know that data didn’t work in this last election.”
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