WASHINGTON ― A former aide to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cautioned the Democratic Party against “moving policy to the left” in response to the wave of public protests targeting President Donald Trump, telling MSNBC: “You are wrong to look at these crowds and think that means everyone wants $15 an hour.”
“I actually think the real energy is not just with the base. These are apolitical people that are turning out,” Jennifer Palmieri said in an appearance on Chuck Todd’s show last week. Palmieri served as communications director for both the Obama White House and Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Clinton campaigned on a $15 minimum wage as part of the Democratic Party’s official 2016 platform.
You can watch Palmieri’s comments in the video above.
“Don’t assume that the answer to big crowds is moving policy to the left,” Palmieri said. “I think the answer to the big crowds is engaging as much as you can, to be as supportive as you can. And understanding ― what these people want, they are desperate.”
“It’s all about identity on our side now,” she continued. “They want to show, ‘He does not support me. I support you, refugee. I support you, immigrant in my neighborhood. I want to defend you.’ Women who are rejecting Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are saying ― they’re saying this is power for them. ‘Donald Trump doesn’t take me seriously? Well, I’m showing you my value and my power.’ And I think it’s like our own version of identity politics on the left that’s more empowering.”
In the months since the election, many Democratic leaders have talked about bridging what some see as a gap between progressives who care about identity politics and progressives who care about economic populism. Palmieri’s remarks to Todd weren’t exactly in that spirit.
Clinton lost the 2016 election ― at least in the Electoral College ― to Trump, the most unpopular presidential candidate from a major political party since the advent of modern polling.
Palmieri didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.