Bill Clinton warns Democrats not to let 'defund the police and socialism' hurt them this election
"You can't go around complaining that people are violating democratic norms when the voters are rewarding them for it," said the former president.
Former President Bill Clinton warned the Democratic Party that it shouldn't let "defund the police and socialism" damage their chances of winning the Nov. 8 election.
Clinton was asked how the U.S. should handle existing threats to its democracy.
"By winning elections," Clinton said Thursday at a Georgetown University symposium honoring the late Madeleine Albright, who served as secretary of state and U.N. ambassador in his administration. "You can't go around complaining that people are violating democratic norms when the voters are rewarding them for it, either by staying home or being distracted by last-minute scare tactics.
"I mean, we lost the last two weeks of the 2020 election on defund the police and socialism, and that was our fault. We shouldn't let that happen."
Clinton emphasized the need for Democrats to win the 2022 midterms, which will determine control of the House and Senate.
"Politics is about power," he said. "Elections are zero sum games. The best societies are not zero sum games. That's where this term 'norm' comes in.
"And it's difficult for us to realize that we can't beat them with the same strategy they beat us with, because we have a broader coalition. And the people in the middle, especially like suburban, middle-class voters, upper-middle-class voters, they're easy to split, because they've got something to lose. So all they have to do is sit around and think about what will scare them with this election."
Clinton applauded Wyoming Republican Rep. Liz Cheney.
"You have to win," he emphasized. "I wish I could be more comforting. But that's it. It's sad to believe, but there are people like Congresswoman Cheney who are ultraconservative but, by God, believe in the rule of law and majority rule. There are many more now in her party who believe that they are higher type people than the rest of us, that they're better people, and that they ought to run."
Cheney did not win her bid for reelection to the House, losing in the Republican primary in August to Harriet Hageman.