Obama, Clinton Tell Democrats Not to Despair | NBC Southern California
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

Full coverage of the race for the White House

Obama, Clinton Tell Democrats Not to Despair

In two years, Democrats will be defending about two dozen Senate seats, including at least five in deep-red states

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
    Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama greet supporters during a campaign rally.

    Democratic leaders delivered pep talks to demoralized supporters on Monday, promising to reassess their strategy, message and organization in the wake of last week's devastating defeat.

    "You're allowed to mope for a week and half maybe two," President Barack Obama told Democratic National Committee members on a conference call. "But after that we've got to brush ourselves off and get to work."

    The party has entered a period of soul-searching, as Democrats try to chart their direction in the Donald Trump era. An ascendant liberal wing is pushing for a serious shift toward an economic populist message that could win back white working-class voters who backed Trump.

    Party activists, donors and politicians are also advocating for significant changes in leadership, with a group of younger House members trying to postpone leadership elections in an effort to force a discussion about the direction of the party.

    Trump Booed Leaving New York Times

    [NATL] Trump Booed Leaving New York Times
    President Elect Donald Trump is booed as he walks through the lobby of The New York Times Building after a 75-minute meeting with Times journalists. The lobby of the Times building is open to the public, and a large crowd had gathered by the time he departed. (Published Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016)

    "There's a general feeling that the Democratic Party itself needs some serious reform and has grown very distant from the kind of communities it represents," said Gara LaMarche, president of the Democracy Alliance, a group of wealthy Democratic donors who gathered in Washington for a three-day strategy session this week.

    The DNC, the last bastion of party power in Washington, is emerging as another battleground.

    Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison announced his candidacy to be chairman of the organization on Monday afternoon, joining a crowded field of candidates that includes former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, who was party chairman during the administration of then-President George W. Bush.

    After losing the White House and Congress — and likely the ideological tilt of the Supreme Court — the Democrats' new chief will be one of the party's most visible faces in politics, making the role a far more influential post than it was during the Obama administration.

    Trump Takes Meetings at His New Jersey Golf Club

    [NATL] Trump Takes Meetings at His New Jersey Golf Club
    President-elect Trump interviewed more than a dozen candidates for his administration at his New Jersey golf club over the weekend, including Mitt Romney, Rudy Guliani, Chris Christie and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach, who has been tough on immigration, and others. (Published Monday, Nov. 21, 2016)

    Around a dozen Democrats' names have been publicly floated to succeed interim chairwoman Donna Brazile.

    Ellison, a prominent progressive and the first Muslim elected to Congress, has emerged as an early leader, attracting support from Senate leaders and liberal activists.

    DNC National Finance Chairman Henry Muñoz III said he's "seriously considering jumping into the race," arguing that the conversation about the party's future must include representation for Latinos, a growing demographic group.

    Former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley, and South Carolina Democratic Party Chairman Jaime Harrison have also said they're considering bids.

    The contest comes at a time of deep unrest for the party. Anti-Trump protests continued this weekend and post-election polls showed a significant minority of Clinton backers question the legitimacy of Trump's win.

    The future looks even grimmer. In two years, Democrats will be defending about two dozen Senate seats, including at least five in deep-red states. That election could hand Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a filibuster-proof majority, further clearing the way for a conservative policy agenda.

    Obama's call followed a press conference where Obama delivered a subtle critique of Clinton's campaign, pushing back on the idea that demographic advantages would lead to all-but-assured victories for the party and stressing that Democrats must rebuild on every level. Clinton kept a relatively light campaign schedule until the final weeks of her campaign, focusing heavily on motivating the Democratic base of women and minority voters, rather than swaying independents.

    "We're going to have to show up everywhere," he said, reflecting on his own 2008 win in Iowa, a state that went for Trump.

    Trump Holds Series of Meetings With Potential Cabinet Candidates

    [NATL]Trump Holds Series of Meetings With Potential Cabinet Candidates
    President-elect Donald Trump is holding a series of meetings all weekend with potential candidates at his New Jersey golf course as he continues to mull over dozens of positions in his upcoming administration. NBC's Chris Pollone reports. (Published Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016)

    Clinton, meanwhile, held her own call with House Democrats on Monday afternoon. She urged the members not to be "discouraged or divided," according to a Democrat on the call.

    "Heartbreaks don't heal overnight and this one won't," she said.