Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says Democrats need to take a “chill pill” and prepare for years-long fight to regain power.
“Democrats are at the lowest level since 1928 in the House of Representatives and the lowest level since 1925 in the state houses,” the former Obama White House chief of staff said Monday during a discussion at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
“It took us a long time to get this low. It ain’t gonna happen in 2018,” he added. “Take a chill pill, man. You gotta be in this for the long haul. And if you think it’s going to be a quick turnaround like that, it’s not.”
Mr. Emanuel said it’s important moving forward for Democratic candidates to focus more on economic issues than cultural ones, particularly in Republican districts.
“You know, we as Democrats like to walk around ideally — no you got to be ruthless enough,” he said. “We recruited people who matched the district. If you’re running in a Republican district, you gotta get at somebody who can win in a Republican district.
“Winning’s everything,” he continued. “You don’t win, you can’t make the public policy. I say that because it is hard for people in our party to accept that principle. Sometimes you just got to win. OK? And our party likes to be right even if they lose.”
Mr. Emanuel called for Democrats to stop attacking each other on ideology and focus their energy on wedge issues within the Republican Party.
“Democrats love doing a fire squad in a circle. Stop it. Don’t attack, ‘Oh, they’re too moderate.’ Forget about it,” he said. “This guy and these people are about to do something on the tax code, the regulatory environment and things that are more threatening than what a fellow Democrat may slightly disagree with you on. Stop it. We’re not strong enough to do that.”
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa criticized Mr. Emanuel’s comments, saying “chill” Democrats are to blame for President Trump’s victory.
“Democrats have been taking a chill pill for 20 years,” Mr. Rosa said, DNA Info reported. “That’s why we have Donald Trump.”
“Now is not the time to chill,” he added. “Now is the time to fight back.”
The mayor’s comments begin at the 40-minute mark.
• Jessica Chasmar can be reached at email@example.com.
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