As the Republican Party prepares to reset the nation’s political agenda, Democrats are seeking new governing strategies under a revamped GOP mandate. While post-election analysis points to several Party missteps among key voting blocs, the Democratic Party itself has opted to stay the course with the current leadership in the House. Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MO) and Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn (D-SC) were re-elected to the top leadership positions, despite calls for change from within the party.

Democratic Congressman Don Beyer (D-VA) was re-elected to only his second term in November. As a junior member of the party, Beyer sits down with Soledad to discuss next steps and how to win back the Rust Belt voters.

*THIS IS A ROUGH TRANSCRIPT. COPY MAY HAVE SOME ERRORS. O'Brien: Democratic congressman Don Beyer was reelected for his second term representing northern VA, nice to have you with us Beyer: Thank you Soledad O'Brien: do you think the democrats are in crisis? Beyer: It feels that way. I've been back in congress the last two weeks and there have been many many long meetings and not so much finger pointing but hand wringing. Everyone tries to figure where to go from here. The good news is that I haven't seen this energy in the democratic party in a long time. O'Brien: That's encouraging for democrats. Republicans did the autopsy after they lost and looked at what went wrong, what would you analyze as what went wrong in this election? Beyer: We have lost the saliency of our brand, and I think I read that Clinton lost rural small town America by a 3 to 1 margin and if it had been 2 to 1 she would be the pres elect. We do wonderful on the coast - CA, NY, VA. but we have to get the middle part of America O'Brien: A lot of analysis focused on the white working class voter but it's actually the white middle class and the wealthy white voter that went for Trump. People who were typical republicans remained typical republicans, and some of the people that voted for Obama in 2012, a couple hundred counties would then the next time voted for trump. Is the strategy now to try to get back those voters? those trump voters? Or do you look at the lifelong democrats who didn't come out in this election Beyer: I give you great credit for putting your finger on exactly the existential problem, exactly the debate in the democratic party. We have always been the party of the underdog. And these have been underdog groups. These are the groups need that legitimacy, need embracing. The dilemma was, in some ways, we have lost the folks that aren't part of those identity groups and so the other part realizes we need to go to coal communities, farm communities, manufacturing communities that have been devastated and have real messages of economic growth and jobs and opportunity for them just as well O'Brien: Don't you think white was an identity in this election? we talk about identity politics and I think white is an identity that can be identified in this particular election. There was an article in TIME. They interviewed a young woman talking about her vote and she said - I'll paraphrase - she said Clinton reached out to minorities and immigrants but didn't care about everyday Americans. Beyer: I think, perhaps even the emphasis on identity politics or these other groups has almost created, by reaction, the sense of a white identity which maybe didn't exist before. I think some stats yesterday that Hillary's percentage of the white vote was the lowest anyone has had in many years. Its been a slow decline. So it is my hope that the democratic way forward will not be to abandon this wonderful base but to find ways to bring everyone together O'Brien: Can you, within 2 years before the midterm elections, reach those people? Beyer: Truly rebuilding the dem brand in rural america, the small town america, the middle of the country, is going to be a generational challenge. We're not going to do in two years but we got to get out there right away and we start with authentically caring about their issues and their lives and building policy and leadership around that. O'Brien: we'll see congressman thank you for your time Beyer: thank you soledad very much
Show More

Related Videos

  • Web Extra: Tax Cuts and The Middle Class

    November 18, 2017

    Web Extra: Tax Cuts and The Middle Class

    November 18, 2017

    All eyes are on the Senate after the House passed their tax reform bill this week. Both bi...

    Watch now
  • How Fake News Is Evolving, Threatening Democracy

    November 18, 2017

    How Fake News Is Evolving, Threatening Democracy

    November 18, 2017

    The scope of fake news on social media platform is growing and malicious actors are becomi...

    Watch now
  • Puerto Rico’s Former Gov.: We Need to Rebuild Smarter

    October 14, 2017

    Puerto Rico’s Former Gov.: We Need to Rebuild Smarter

    October 14, 2017

    Puerto Rico continues to suffer from the devastation left by hurricanes Irma and Maria. Th...

    Watch now
  • Expert on Graham-Cassidy: Flexibility for States is Only Flexibility to Cut

    September 23, 2017

    Expert on Graham-Cassidy: Flexibility for States is Only Flexibility to Cut

    September 23, 2017

    Senate Republicans could give Obamacare repeal one more try with the Graham-Cassidy health...

    Watch now
  • The Costs of Recovery After the Storms

    September 9, 2017

    The Costs of Recovery After the Storms

    September 9, 2017

    Hurricane Irma will make landfall this weekend in Florida, following the destruction in Ho...

    Watch now
  • Dem Rep. Kihuen Says He Could Compromise on Funding Border Wall

    September 9, 2017

    Dem Rep. Kihuen Says He Could Compromise on Funding Border Wall

    September 9, 2017

    Eight hundred thousand young immigrants thrust into uncertainty this week after President ...

    Watch now
  • Freshmen Congressmen See Opportunities for Bipartisanship Following Recess

    September 9, 2017

    Freshmen Congressmen See Opportunities for Bipartisanship Following Recess

    September 9, 2017

    Congress, in its first week back from a month-long recess, hit the ground running, passing...

    Watch now
  • Reps. Dent and Himes on Opportunities for Bipartisanship

    August 5, 2017

    Reps. Dent and Himes on Opportunities for Bipartisanship

    August 5, 2017

    Gridlock in the Capitol could be clearing up as moderate caucus leaders from both parties ...

    Watch now

Latest

  • How Fake News Is Evolving, Threatening Democracy

    November 18, 2017

    How Fake News Is Evolving, Threatening Democracy

    November 18, 2017

    The scope of fake news on social media platform is growing and malicious actors ...

    Watch now
  • Advocate: Puerto Rico is Like a Third World Country

    November 18, 2017

    Advocate: Puerto Rico is Like a Third World Country

    November 18, 2017

    Puerto Rico is still struggling to recover after Hurricane Maria made landfall t...

    Watch now
  • Fmr. Gov. O’Malley: Democratic Candidates Don’t Need the National Party

    November 18, 2017

    Fmr. Gov. O’Malley: Democratic Candidates Don’t Need the National Party

    November 18, 2017

    Spurred by wins last in New Jersey and Virginia, Democrats are looking to keep t...

    Watch now
  • Honoring Our Veterans: The Story of Col. Barnum’s Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Honoring Our Veterans: The Story of Col. Barnum’s Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Colonel Harvey “Barney” Barnum, retired U.S. Marine Corps Officer, saved over 13...

    Watch now
  • History Corrected for Denied Medal of Honor Recipients

    November 11, 2017

    History Corrected for Denied Medal of Honor Recipients

    November 11, 2017

    Over 3,500 armed service members have received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. mili...

    Watch now
  • Double Amputee Marine Completing a Month of Marathons to Raise Money for Charities

    November 11, 2017

    Double Amputee Marine Completing a Month of Marathons to Raise Money for Charities

    November 11, 2017

    Rob Jones, a retired U.S. Marine, is the only double, above-the-knee amputee to ...

    Watch now
  • Valor Defined: The Story of Staff Sgt. Morris’ Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Valor Defined: The Story of Staff Sgt. Morris’ Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris earned his Medal of Honor during one of two tours in Vi...

    Watch now
  • Sen. Carper: We Need to Stabilize the Obamacare Exchanges

    November 4, 2017

    Sen. Carper: We Need to Stabilize the Obamacare Exchanges

    November 4, 2017

    Premiums for Obamacare are up an average of 37% this enrollment season. Those hi...

    Watch now
  • Honoring Our Veterans: The Story of Col. Barnum’s Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Honoring Our Veterans: The Story of Col. Barnum’s Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Colonel Harvey “Barney” Barnum, retired U.S. Marine Corps Officer, saved over 13...

    Watch now
  • History Corrected for Denied Medal of Honor Recipients

    November 11, 2017

    History Corrected for Denied Medal of Honor Recipients

    November 11, 2017

    Over 3,500 armed service members have received the Medal of Honor, the U.S. mili...

    Watch now
  • Double Amputee Marine Completing a Month of Marathons to Raise Money for Charities

    November 11, 2017

    Double Amputee Marine Completing a Month of Marathons to Raise Money for Charities

    November 11, 2017

    Rob Jones, a retired U.S. Marine, is the only double, above-the-knee amputee to ...

    Watch now
  • Valor Defined: The Story of Staff Sgt. Morris’ Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Valor Defined: The Story of Staff Sgt. Morris’ Medal of Honor

    November 11, 2017

    Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris earned his Medal of Honor during one of two tours in Vi...

    Watch now
  • Could She Become the First African American Female Governor?

    October 28, 2017

    Could She Become the First African American Female Governor?

    October 28, 2017

    She’s a Democrat running in deep red Georgia, set on changing history. She wants...

    Watch now
  • Sister of Veteran Killed by Suicide Turning Her Loss into A Mission

    October 14, 2017

    Sister of Veteran Killed by Suicide Turning Her Loss into A Mission

    October 14, 2017

    Suicides across the U-S have been on a steady rise with a recent report from the...

    Watch now
  • A Growing Industry in L.A.? Hint: We’re Not Talking About Hollywood

    September 30, 2017

    A Growing Industry in L.A.? Hint: We’re Not Talking About Hollywood

    September 30, 2017

    The next big tech gadget could be coming to you from the West Coast – but hundre...

    Watch now
  • Smithsonian African American Museum Celebrating First Year

    August 26, 2017

    Smithsonian African American Museum Celebrating First Year

    August 26, 2017

    Meet Zena Howard, one of the architects for the nation’s newest museum that has ...

    Watch now
  • November 11, 2017

    November 18, 2017

    November 11, 2017

    November 18, 2017

    This Veteran's Day weekend, Soledad O'Brien explores the story of two Medal of H...

    Watch now
  • November 4, 2017

    November 13, 2017

    November 4, 2017

    November 13, 2017

    This week on Matter of Fact, open enrollment is underway for the state insu...

    Watch now
  • October 28, 2017

    November 4, 2017

    October 28, 2017

    November 4, 2017

    This week, Soledad O'Brien takes a look at Steve Bannon's war on the Republican ...

    Watch now
  • October 21, 2017

    October 28, 2017

    October 21, 2017

    October 28, 2017

    This week Soledad O'Brien speaks with Democratic strategist Jamal Simmons a...

    Watch now
  • October 14, 2017

    October 21, 2017

    October 14, 2017

    October 21, 2017

    Puerto Ricans continue to struggle with survival issues and Congress grapples wi...

    Watch now
  • October 7, 2017

    October 14, 2017

    October 7, 2017

    October 14, 2017

    Soledad O'Brien sits down with Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 mass shooti...

    Watch now
  • September 30, 2017

    October 7, 2017

    September 30, 2017

    October 7, 2017

    On this episode of Matter of Fact, we focus on the scene on the ground in Puerto...

    Watch now
  • September 23, 2017

    September 30, 2017

    September 23, 2017

    September 30, 2017

    Senate Republicans are giving Obamacare repeal another try with their latest pie...

    Watch now