PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Oregon, said he’s worried House Democrats have signed the party’s “death certificate” after reelecting Nancy Pelosi, D-California, as House Minority Leader.
Pelosi was reelected on Wednesday defeating Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, with 134 votes (Ryan got 63 votes).
Schrader backed Ryan and told reporters after the vote, “I’m very concerned we just signed the Democratic Party’s death certificate.”
The Oregon representative is chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition of the Democratic Party, and the coalition issued a joint statement after the election, speaking about how the party needs to make fighting for working middle class men and women its top priority.
That same message was echoed in an op-ed on the future of the Democratic party published before Pelosi’s reelection.
In that op-ed, Schrader said middle class Americans have a clear message for Democrats: “Either focus on their economic future or stay a minority party.”
“That means a commitment to bringing back jobs in factories and natural resource industries that we have overlooked and even scorned over the last decade. That means an understanding that not everyone goes to a four year college.”
While Schrader said the party’s message isn’t entirely off base (saying a majority of Americans, particularly millennials, support the party’s values of rights and opportunities for all regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background), he admitted most Americans are worried about their own future and the future of their children.
“The plight of others is unfortunately forced to take a backseat when it becomes difficult to pay for your home, get your children a good and affordable education, pay your medical bills and face the impact that globalization has on your own job,” Schrader said.
Schrader concluded that the party needs to marry its commitment to cultural progressivism with creating opportunity for working men and women, especially in rural areas.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.