The Democrat brand is broken and needs to be repaired, according to the Democratic National Committee chairman.
"It's not even just with Republicans," DNC Chairman Jaime Harrison told The Daily Beast's podcast The New Abnormal. "The Democrat brand with some of the folks who are core at the base of our party is not the greatest.
"And so I want to spend a lot of time, energy, and effort understanding why the brand is where it is, what it is and how, and what we can do in order to improve it."
Harrison, who took his position on Jan. 21, lost his bid for a Senate seat to incumbent Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in November's election. He told the podcast how he dealt with a "tarnished" Democrat brand in South Carolina.
"I experienced it on my own race, Lindsey [Graham] and his crew of dark money effectively labeled me as somebody who believed in defunding the police," Harrison said, according to The Hill. "My grandfather on my stepfather's side was in the Detroit police department for 40 years. So I don’t believe in that.
"But they were able to do it because the Democratic brand had been so tarnished in South Carolina that people would believe anything. If they said, 'Jaime kicked a puppy the other day,' they would have believed it."
With President Joe Biden and Congressional Democrats having passed a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, and now promoting a $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, Harrison said his party needs to stress its accomplishments, especially in rural areas and red states.
"We have to take credit and claim the things that we will have gotten done over the course of this next two years," Harrison said. "We're going to do a lot for rural America.
"The American Rescue Plan has so much in there for rural communities across this country. And it will have a huge benefit, this infrastructure plan, when we get this done. The broadband component in it alone will totally transform rural America."
Harrison said the Democrat party's message to rural areas will help grow the base, and "persuade a few other folks to take a look at us."
"Those communities are also just as diverse as urban communities. We also need to make sure that we're listening to them," Harrison said. "And then, in the end, we've got to deliver and I believe we can do those things. Not only will we grow our base, but I think we also persuade a few other folks to take a look at us."
Both the DNC and Republican National Committee are gearing up for the 2022 election cycle. Traditionally, the sitting president's party loses seats in midterm elections.
Republicans hope to regain a majority in both the House and Senate. The upper chamber is currently split evenly along party lines, with Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote. Democrats hold a 219-211 edge in the House.
Although it has tended to take a less-active role in midterm elections, the DNC announced a coordinated effort last month to sell President Biden's coronavirus relief package to battleground state voters.
A message guide on how to promote the legislation was sent to Democrat state and national officials.
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