Former New Orleans Mayor: Dems need to address race issues to win elections

Former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in an interview on Thursday that Democrats cannot win elections without talking about the issue of race ahead of the midterms in November. 

"Can Democrats win without talking about this question?" Hill TV's Jamal Simmons asked Landrieu on "Rising."

"I don't think so," Landrieu responded. "I don't really think it's a Democrat-Republican thing. I don't think the United States of America is ever going to be a great country unless she's a good country." 

"People said, well, when exactly were we great?" he added. "In this last presidential campaign we didn't really have a debate about what it is that makes us great. I think it's our diversity. I think that notion that — out of many, that we are one is where America's strengths come from." 

"Unless we can walk through the issue of race and hatred and the damage that it's done ... we're never going to have everybody in the game, and you need everybody on the field to win." 

Landrieu's comments come as the U.S. continues to grapple with the issue of race, including in May, when a neighbor called authorities as three black guests at an Airbnb in California were preparing to leave the house.

Meanwhile, the U.S. last year experienced violent protests spurred by white nationalists, in Charlottesville, Va., over the issue of Confederate statues and monuments. 

— Julia Manchester