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Coverage of the 2016 presidential election from NPR News and related blogs, including candidate profiles, interviews and talking points.On-air specials will also be broadcast as Election Day approaches, including the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary.WRVO also provides coverage of regional elections both on-air and online.

Schumer says middle class issues are the prescription for what ails Democrats

Ellen Abbott
Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) on a recent visit to central New York

When Sen. Charles Schumer becomes Senate minority leader January 3, he will be one of the most powerful Democrats in the nation, at a time when the party is the weakest it’s been since the Great Depression. But the New Yorker says he has a plan to pull the party back into power.

Schumer doesn’t mince any words when it comes to rehashing Democratic losses on Election Day.

"I’ll tell you what we did wrong. We didn’t have a sharp enough economic message to show middle class people how they could stay in the middle class, and to those trying to get in the middle class, how to get in there,” said Schumer.

So Schumer says he’s going to lead the Democratic Party by making it more relevant to the middle class with a sharp economic message aimed especially at those voters who abandoned the party for Donald Trump. He says if that means working with Trump on middle class issues like fixing infrastructure, then he’ll do it. And he says he has support from the more liberal and conservative wings of his party to do it.

If reaching the middle class is the key to the Democrats revival, then Schumer has the pedigree to pull it off. He’s consistently campaigned on issues that affect the middle class in New York state, and has even written a book about it.

"[It’s] called ‘Positively American,’ saying Democrats should focus on the Baileys -- a middle class couple. They were sort of a mythical middle class couple. Newt Gingrich, of all people, said if Democrats followed Schumer’s book, they’d be the majority party for a generation,” the senator told reporters during a recent visit to central New York. “Unfortunately the Democrats didn’t follow it. Unfortunately it didn’t sell a lot of copies, so I have a lot of free copies, if anyone wants one.”

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.