The Democratic National Committee's mission has to involve electing people across the ballot, not only a new president in 2020, and the best way to do that is to build up the strength of the party across the country, newly elected DNC Chairman Tom Perez said Tuesday.
"We neglected that in recent years," Perez told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "We neglected zip codes. The story of Wisconsin, where I got married, we underperformed in Milwaukee. You show up at a church in October and call it organizing. We underperformed in the rural parts of the states."
The DNC still does not have Sen. Bernie Sanders' email list from the 2016 campaign, but Perez said he'll be meeting with both Sanders and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, to speak about "how we make sure we are all fired on all cylinders."
"There's a tremendous amount of energy out there," said Perez, calling opposition to President Donald Trump a "unifier" when it comes to bringing the Democratic Party back together. "I think one of our challenges is, I call it an opportunity, to channel the energy at a grassroots level."
Part of that will include tapping into both "Sen. Sanders' wisdom and [former] President [Barack] Obama's wisdom," said Perez. "Look at two of the most prolific small dollar fundraisers in Democratic history, President Obama and Sen. Sanders. One of the things I want to do is tap into that and figure out, can we translate the small dollar passion for an individual into small dollar passion for the party?"
The best way to achieve that, Perez said, is to "put our values into action, to show that we are there in communities, to show that on the issues that matter the most, protecting the Affordable Care Act."
Democrats have been criticized in recent years of not appealing to white working class voters, but Perez said party members have a "false choice" between choosing minorities and white voters.
"What we have to do is talk to every voter in every community," Perez said. "What we need to do is talk directly to [voters'] fears and to their hopes. When hope is on the ballot we win, and when fear is on the ballot we lose."
Further, he said that the message of "economic opportunity — jobs, good jobs, retirement security — that's a message that resonates in every zip code."
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