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Democrats’ Way Back: Moderates rebrand for survival in the era of Trump

Rep. Jim Himes, D-Connecticut., tours a U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center June 23, 2018, in McAllen, Texas.
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Connecticut., tours a U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center June 23, 2018, in McAllen, Texas. AP

Subscribe to McClatchy’s Beyond the Bubble and catch all five episodes of Democrats’ Way Back on iTunes here or Stitcher.

WASHINGTON — In the next episode of a special five-part miniseries, McClatchy’s national political correspondent Alex Roarty, sits down with Lanae Erickson, vice president for social policy and politics at the center-left think tank Third Way, to talk about how the Democratic Party’s moderates are rebranding for the era of President Donald Trump.

Unlike past “centrist” Democrats who bucked their party on social issues, Erickson, who gathered with a host of other moderate Democratic leaders in Columbus, Ohio, in July, wants her party to focus on big ideas, just less government involvement.

Faced with an incoming class of progressive new lawmakers elected in response to Trump this fall, that shift could be necessary for survival.

“The loud voices often get the most attention. And there are folks who are very very loud on the far left … they’re sexy, and they’re new, and they’re loud,” said Erickson.

(Listen to Episode 2 of The Democrats’ Way Back)

Also on this episode, Rep. Jim Himes, D- Connecticut, explains what Democrats from red territory are doing to band together on Capitol Hill.

“We like to call ourselves pragmatic progressives. And maybe that pragmatism comes from the fact that most of us come from purple districts,” said Himes, chair of the New Democrats. “We come from a district that has as many Republicans and Democrats, you have to listen to your Republicans.”

The next 25-minute episode of Democrats’ Way Back, available for download Thursday, November 15, will explore Democrats’ challenges with minority outreach.

Democrats’ Way Back is produced by Jordan-Marie Smith and Davin Coburn. Alex Roarty, a national political correspondent for McClatchy covering the Democratic Party, recorded this episode at McClatchy’s Washington Bureau.
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