Deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) is now placing some of the blame for Democrats’ current losing streak on former President Obama for ignoring party politics while he was in office.
“Look, I’m a great fan of President Obama. I totally voted for many of the things he supported — Dodd-Frank, Affordable Care Act, Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — I could keep going,” said Ellison on Wednesday, while speaking at the University of Minnesota. “Wonderful achievements, but Barack Obama could have been a better party leader and I think the fact that he wasn’t, put his legacy in jeopardy.”
Ellison talked about Obama’s failure to help party leaders ensure that Democrats would stay in power in order to protect his accomplishments, saying, “His legacy is the work he’s done, which I believe is tremendous. But given we lost a lot of state House seats, governorships, secretaries of state … his true legacy is in danger. And, I think he can’t say that he wasn’t part of those losses. Who else, right?”
Still smarting from Hillary Clinton’s devastating loss of the presidency, as well as remaining the minorities in the House and Senate, the DNC is fighting to rebuild the national party under the leadership of new chairman Tom Perez.
Since Obama’s election in 2008, Republicans have gained a noticeable number of seats in state legislatures across the country, controlling 24 states.
“He should have been far more out there in 2010, which was a year when we were going to be doing redistricting. He should’ve been campaigning like he was on the ballot and should have been very visible,” Ellison complained.
“He’s great at getting himself elected but should’ve worked much more closely with Congress, and I think in 2014, we had record-low voter turnout. And I think that, too, really was a time when he needed to be visible and present and very engaged … he needed to raise money for state legislative races.”