Outgoing Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., offered a reality check to his party as some Democrats implore possible 2020 presidential candidates to adopt policy positions further to the Left in order to gin up the base.
“The talk on the coasts just doesn’t get it done in the middle,” Donnelly, who lost his re-election bid last month to Republican Sen.-elect Mike Braun, told CNN Friday.
Donnelly, a one-term senator who was defeated by more than double-digits thanks in part to President Trump’s multiple visits to Indiana in the closing weeks of the campaign, warned that he didn’t see a Democratic pathway to the White House without the Midwest. He also reminded his colleagues that “who wins the primary is not necessarily the best person in a general election,” while refusing to name a specific candidate he believed could oust Trump.
“We have not made enough of a connection, I worked like a dog nonstop to make that connection, that the people of my state understand culturally, we want to make sure you succeed,” Donnelly told the network. “But when you talk ‘Medicare for all’ … you start losing the people in my state. When we start talking about, ‘Hey, we’re going to work together with the insurance companies to lower premiums,’ that’s what connects.”
“People want to make sure they have a good job, decent health care, that they can retire with dignity and that they know that the future is better for their children and grandchildren,” Donnelly said. “When we talk about those things, we have success in the Midwest.”
Donnelly, who was first elected to Congress in 2006, served three terms in the House before successfully running for the Senate in 2012 on a pro-auto bailout platform. His victory was additionally secured by Republican opponent Richard Mourdock, then-Indiana state treasurer, saying pregnancy from rape was “something that God intended.”