President Barack Obama has suggested Hillary Clinton may not have worked as hard on the campaign trail as he did ahead of his election wins in 2008 and 2012.
Mr Obama said the Democratic candidate, who was beaten to the white house by Republican Donald Trump in last week’s shock election result, failed to “show up everywhere”, losing out on the white, non-urban vote.
During the president’s own election campaign, Mr Obama outperformed Ms Clinton in most suburbs and crucially, in critical swing areas in the midwest.
“How we organise politically I think is something that we should spend some time thinking about. I believe that we have better ideas, but I also believe that good ideas don’t matter if people don’t hear them,” Mr Obama told reporters on Monday.
“And one of the issues the Democrats have to be clear on is, given population distribution across the country, we have to compete everywhere. We have to show up everywhere. We have to work at a grassroots level, something that’s been a running thread in my career.”
During a post-election press conference at the White House, Mr Obama highlighted the need for the Democrats to outline a 50-state strategy to engage all voters.
“You know, I won Iowa not because the demographics dictated that I would win Iowa. It was because I spent 87 days going to every small town and fair and fish fry and VFW hall, and there were some counties where I might have lost, but maybe I lost by 20 points instead of 50 points,” he said.
“There are some counties maybe I won that people didn’t expect because people had a chance to see you and listen to you and get a sense of who you stood for and who you were fighting for.”
He also called for “new voices and new ideas” to come forward to help shape the future of the party.
“The challenge for a national party is how do you dig in there and create those kinds of structures so that people have a sense of what it is that you stand for,” he said.
“It’s increasingly difficult to do because of the splintering of the press. And so I think the discussions that have been taking place about how do you build more grassroots organizing, how do you build up state parties and local parties and school board elections you’re paying attention to and state rep races and city council races, that all, I think, will contribute to stronger outcomes in the future. And I’m optimistic that will happen.”
Mr Obama continued to outline his reasons for optimism, citing the party’s resurgence following John Kerry’s devastating defeat in 2004.
“Things change pretty rapidly, but they don’t change inevitably,” he said.
“They change because you work for it. Nobody said democracy’s supposed to be easy. It’s hard. And in a big country like this, it probably should be hard.”
- More about:
- Barack Obama
- Hillary Clinton
- Donald Trump
- White House
- John Kerry
- election campaign
- electoral college
- VFW hall