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Defeated Democrat issues warning to his party

Outgoing Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) offers advice to his party and warns against progressive policies such as "Medicare for all" when trying to win over red states in the 2020 election.

Posted: Dec 30, 2018 12:17 PM
Updated: Dec 30, 2018 12:24 PM

Outgoing Indiana Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly said Democrats need to be careful in promoting too many progressive ideas in red states like his because they'll "start losing the people in my state."

"Medicare-for-all" is a progressive stance that some Democrats worry could alienate Midwestern voters from the party going into the 2020 presidential election. It has become popular thanks to liberal leaders like Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

When asked by CNN's Dana Bash on "The Lead With Jake Tapper" if Democrats could be viable without appealing to interior state votes, Donnelly replied, "I don't know how you do that."

Donnelly said that during President Donald Trump's visits to Indiana in the weeks before the midterms -- in which Donnelly lost his seat -- the President made not voting for Republicans seem like a personal betrayal by voters.

"We have not made enough of a connection ... that the people of my state understand culturally, we (Democrats) want to make sure you succeed," he said.

"But when you talk 'Medicare-for-all' ...you start losing the people in my state," Donnelly added. "When we start talking about, 'Hey, we're going to work together with the insurance companies to lower premiums,' that's what connects."

"The talk on the coasts just doesn't get it done in the middle," he said.

"Medicare-for-all" has become a contentious issue for Democrats as they prepare to assume the majority in January. Some new House Democrats, such as Democratic socialist Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, championed the issue on the campaign trail despite trepidation from other parts of the party. But Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has indicated that she is open to considering a more public option during the new Congress.

Republicans have seized on the buzzword, arguing that "Medicare-for-all" would threaten the program's availability for seniors. Trump published an op-ed just before the midterms bashing Democrats for threatening to "eviscerate" the program with such an expansion.

Looking ahead to the presidential election, Donnelly cautioned that "who wins the primary is not necessarily the best person in a general election."

While he declined to name a specific candidate he thought would fare best, Donnelly said the ideal candidate would engage directly with people in the interior states on issues such as manufacturing and health care.

They would be the "kind of person who can go into Michigan and go to the auto plant" and have "talked to the workers there, and have talked to the families at the churches and have talked to them about how important it is for their kid to get decent health care," he said.

"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 added. "When we talk about those things, we have success in the Midwest."

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 910438

Reported Deaths: 17386
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles3006147000
Riverside667321295
San Bernardino627741072
Orange587251447
San Diego54941870
Kern33881416
Fresno30858436
Sacramento25445484
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Alameda23391461
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Contra Costa18694242
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San Francisco12152140
Monterey1139991
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Santa Barbara9814120
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Sonoma9402136
Kings824683
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Marin7089128
Madera502074
Placer417857
San Luis Obispo414132
Yolo320759
Butte308752
Santa Cruz280225
Napa196215
Shasta188930
Sutter183712
San Benito144215
El Dorado13284
Yuba129310
Mendocino112921
Tehama8808
Lassen7661
Lake69515
Glenn6573
Nevada6168
Humboldt56710
Colusa5506
Calaveras34218
Amador33016
Tuolumne2714
Inyo22715
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Mono1802
Del Norte1781
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Plumas680
Modoc290
Trinity260
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Gusty winds and very dry conditions are continuing to result in a Red Flag Warning for high fire danger today. Temperatures will also be much warmer this afternoon. Dry and mild weather returns on Wednesday and continues through this weekend.
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