Rahm Emanuel: Dems need to 'fight for the middle class'

Rahm Emanuel: Dems need to 'fight for the middle class'
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Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said in an interview released Tuesday that Democratic Americans feel forgotten by their lawmakers and party, adding that the party doesn't fight for working class families like it should.

“Sure. Yeah. That’s not even a question. No, of course. I think we don’t talk about and fight for the middle class like we believe we’re for them,” Emanuel told host Edward-Isaac Dovere on Politico’s podcast “Off Message.”

“I think there are certain things we as a party wandered off from as it relates to being a party that fought for hard working families,” he added.

Emanuel, who served as a top aide for former Presidents Bill ClintonBill ClintonGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Lawmakers, pick up the ball on health care and reform Medicaid The art of the small deal MORE and Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaGOP rep: North Korea wants Iran-type nuclear deal Dems fear lasting damage from Clinton-Sanders fight Iran's president warns US will pay 'high cost' if Trump ditches nuclear deal MORE, said the party has to work to bring the middle class back into the party’s fold and show they support working class families.

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“If they don’t hear we’re for them, then we got a problem because we are not going to convince them they are wrong,” he said. “They need a voice and it’s not just for the string of policies. It’s also a set of values that respect who they are in their lives.”

The Chicago mayor said Democrats “come off as a party [that is] disdainful of them…”

Emanuel reportedly expressed frustration about the Democratic party appealing to the middle class by pretending to hit the table with his hands. 

“That would be one physical expression,” he reportedly said.

Emanuel said Democrats have a strong hold in urban centers, Republicans have a strong hold in rural areas, and so the battleground for future elections is in the suburbs.  

“If you were looking at congressional, you were looking at the state capitals, and then you look at the presidency to be competitive, the battleground is not urban America or rural America its suburban America. That’s the battleground.” 

He also pointed to how President Trump attacks cities for drug use, not areas where many of his supporters live like suburban and rural areas.

“He’s attacked Atlanta, he’s attacked Philadelphia, he’s attacked New York, he’s attacked the gangs there, he’s attacked Chicago. I notice he never attacks suburban or rural areas for their opiate crisis. He talks about how to solve those problems,” Emanuel said in part. “You have a huge opiate crisis in the suburbs, massive opiate/heroin crisis. Now, there, they don’t get stereotyped or characterized. They get empathy.”

 Emanuel said Trump has hurt trust in the U.S.

“America’s word and America’s reliability is now in question,” Emanuel added. “Come and gone like that.”