CNN analyst Van Jones said Sunday it’s time for the Democratic Party to move on from 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and embrace the party’s progressive wing.
Appearing on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Jones argued that if Democrats want any victories going forward, they’ll have to prove themselves to the working class and people of color. Clinton’s brand of moderate politics, he said, simply won’t work.
“You have to understand, I think, that the Clinton days are over,” he said. “This idea that we’re going to be this moderate party that’s going to move in this direction, that’s going to throw blacks under the bus for criminal justice reform or for prison expansion, that’s going to throw workers under the bus for NAFTA, those days are over.”
“You can’t run and hide,” he continued. “You’ve got to be an authentic person from the beginning. You’re going to be judged based on your authentic commitment to the actual base of this party. And if you don’t do that, you can’t win.”
In Jones’ view, Clinton missed a crucial opportunity to reach out to that liberal base when she selected Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) as her running mate.
“She didn’t pick someone from the progressive wing, which made it much harder to heal those wounds with the [Bernie] Sanders and Elizabeth Warren wing,” he said.
In addition to Sens. Sanders (I-Vt.) and Warren (D-Mass.), Jones pointed to up-and-coming Democrats such as Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) ― a top contender for Democratic National Committee chairman ― and Sen.-elect Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) as potential party standard-bearers.
“She is unreal,” Jones said of Harris, who is the first Indian-American ever elected to the Senate, and will be the first black woman to serve in the upper chamber in two decades. “She’s got African-American roots. She’s got Asian roots. She’s female. She’s tough. She’s smart. She’s going to become a big deal.”
During an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” last month, Jones explained why he believes it’s important for liberals to continue to reach out to those who voted for President-elect Donald Trump. He echoed that sentiment during Sunday’s CNN appearance, pressing Democrats to embrace “more kinds of people.”
“If we’re the party for the underdogs everywhere, we win,” he said.
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