Top Obama administration official: 2020 'entirely' about whether Dems win back middle class

A top official from the Obama administration said Wednesday the 2020 election will be “entirely” about whether Democrats can win back the middle class.

“The Democratic constituency now is a barbell — it’s highly educated and pretty affluent people and then lower-income people who are disproportionately not white,” Reed Hundt, who served on former President Obama’s transition team in 2008, told Hill.TV.

“In the middle is the middle class, and it’s in that group that voted for Obama in 2008 — many of them again in 2012,” Hundt added. “But they began to shift to [Donald] Trump in 2016, and the 2020 election is about entirely whether the Democrats get them back.”

During his first address to a joint session of Congress, in 2017, Trump vowed to help make the middle class “bigger and more prosperous than ever before.” Some of the president's allies have pointed to the 2017 GOP tax-cut law as a big step toward achieving that goal, but some critics have said the move will hurt the middle class in the long run.

Hundt, who served as Federal Communications Commission chairman under President Clinton, said that if Democrats want to have a chance of beating Trump in 2020, they should avoid neoliberalism, a term generally used to refer to ideology that favors free-market capitalism.

“Don’t be neoliberals,” he advised 2020 candidates. “That’s the label for these considerations that the market, as opposed to the government, should provide the capital allocation and the platforms on which the economy is built.”

Hundt’s comments come amid an ever-growing Democratic primary field.

Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellThe Hill's Morning Report — Mueller aftermath: What will House Dems do now? Bernie Sanders calls on Congress to investigate after Mueller report release 2020 Dems call on Mueller to testify about redacted report MORE (D-Calif.) became the latest Democrat to join the race. He announced his bid Monday on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

—Tess Bonn