President Barack Obama recently laid out the reasons why his party’s candidate Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential election—without directly criticizing her—and even taking some of the blame himself, reports CNN.
The top three reasons the president has given on the election loss for his party includes electoral miscalculation, Russian meddling and media mistreatment. He has never said that the Dems put forth a “flawed” candidate.
In a candid interview airing on NPR Monday, Obama conceded that Democrats had “ceded too much territory.” Moving forward, candidates should actively campaign in the places Democrats haven’t traditionally performed well in, including rural areas between the two coasts, and not only in the cities.
“There are clearly failures on our part to give people in rural areas or in exurban areas a sense day-to-day that we’re fighting for them or connected to them,” he told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “Part of the reason it’s important to show up … is because it then builds trust and it gives you a better sense of how should you talk about issues in a way that feel salient and feel meaningful to people.
You’ve got a situation where they’re not only entire states but also big chunks of states where, if we’re not showing up, if we’re not in there making an argument, then we’re going to lose,” Obama told NPR “And we can lose badly, and that’s what happened in this election.”
Obama only campaigned in states that the Clinton team asked him to go such as North Carolina, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Reportedly, the president argued for making a stop in Iowa, a state where he campaigned actively during his own bids for office. But Clinton’s team nixed the idea, sending him to the so-called battleground states.
Of the media, the president said that much of Clinton’s excellent policy and diplomatic credentials were lost in a sensationalistic environment—fueled, he said, by information taken from Russian hacks.
“In that scrum, in that swirl, you know, Donald Trump and his celebrity and his ability to garner attention and obviously tap into a lot of the anxieties and fears that some voters have, I think, definitely made a difference,” he said.
Obama said he would work with the party once he leaves office to develop those “ground up changes” to the structure of the party in to be competitive in these “neglected” states, offering advice and scouting talented young politicians to champion and promote.
He also says that the country needs to do some soul searching, in light of this most recent campaign and election and especially how a foreign body may have influenced it.
“If we don’t, you know, do some hard reflection—all of us—on how that happens, then we’re like a body that is already weakened and then becomes more vulnerable to foreign viruses, becomes more vulnerable to manipulation and demagoguery and that’s something that I’m also going to be thinking a lot about in my afterlife, my post-presidency,” he added.