Rep. Judy Chu says Democrats “dropped the ball” in Rust Belt and midwestern states during the 2016 election that sent Donald Trump to the White House — and that they’re not about to make that mistake in 2020.
“This is on everybody’s mind,’’ Chu told the Review this week as she worked her home district, with Congress out on its August break.
“In 2016, I believe that Democrats dropped the ball on … those states, on those Rust Belt and midwestern states. But we are very, very conscious of this now. In 2016, there were a number of people that did not believe that somebody like Trump could ever be elected — somebody who was so cruel and so crude.’’
While Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in 2016, Trump took the Electoral College — riding to the presidency on a wave of victories in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania.
Chu, a frequent critic of Trump, particularly in the area of immigration, said Democrats plan to work those states harder in the coming presidential race, and that she intends to help out by hitting the hustings herself, around her own campaign for re-election.
“Now we are very aware of this, and that is why we are changing the scenario this time around,’’ Chu said. “We want a candidate who will be able to address the issues of people in those states, and will do outreach to them and who will touch their hearts and gain their confidence.
“Whoever that person is, I will support – and I think many Democrats will support.’’
Asked if she is yet supporting any of the 24 Democrats now running for the nomination, Chu said, “I am waiting for the field to winnow itself down, and for people to rise to the top.’’
“I want to see how things develop,’’ she said. “Like I said, I am focused with a laser on the person who will be successful in defeating Trump in 2020.’’
Whoever that is, she said, she’ll be joining the national dialogue.
“I will do everything that I can to make sure that that person is successful,’’ she said.
“In 2016, I actually went to other states to campaign, so I would do the same thing again. I would do everything to make sure that we are united as California Democrats to help in this nationwide process of changing things around with regard to who’s in the White House.
“We need to return our country to what the Statue of Liberty represented, and that is that we welcomed people of all different backgrounds, we welcomed people who were immigrants, we welcomed those who were vulnerable. That is what we should always remember, because the person in the White House is definitely having us go in the opposite direction.’’