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Outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskill says Democrats need more moderates



ST LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 05: Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) speaks with supporters at The Royale bar on November 5, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. McCaskill is in a tight race for votes with her Republican challenger Josh Hawley for tomorrow's midterm election. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Olson/Getty Images

  • Recently ousted Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill gave a candid
    interview about regrets and disappointments in how Democrats
    handled the 2018 Senate elections.
  • McCaskill said Democrats will continue to suffer in Senate
    elections if moderates are not empowered in an effort to convert
    many supporters of President Trump.
  • McCaskill lost to Republican Josh Hawley, who had previously
    served as attorney general of Missouri.

Outgoing Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill did not pull any punches
in a recent interview, blasting her party for not empowering
moderate Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections.

Recapping her Senate career with Rachel Martin on

NPR’s “Morning Edition,”
McCaskill called her loss a
“failure” to bridge the gap between the Democratic Party
and Americans in rural areas. Missouri Attorney General Josh
Hawley unseated McCaskill, ousting the Democrat after two

“This demand for purity, this looking down your nose at people
who want to compromise, is a recipe for disaster for the
Democrats,” McCaskill said. “Will we ever get to a majority in
the Senate again, much less to 60, if we do not have some
moderates in our party?”

Read more:

Lindsey Graham has transformed from a ‘RINO’ to an icon of
the right

McCaskill added that House Democrats would be wise to be
very cautious and careful” when using their newfound power
to investigate and probe the Trump administration.

“They’ve got to be careful with their oversight that it
does not dwarf their messaging about how much we want to get done
for the people of this country,” she said. “If we focus on just
going after Trump, then he has his foil.”

She added that continuing to hammer Trump has not
necessarily moved the needle in terms of converting his
supporters, demanding a different approach than Democrats have
taken during his first two years in office.

“He clearly will never take any responsibility for any
mistakes he’s made,” she said. “And frankly, a lot of his
mistakes have been pointed out, and it hasn’t really moved a lot
of the voters we need to move.”

McCaskill also lamented the deteriorating ability to compromise
in Washington, noting the
rightward shift
from South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

“Everyone gets in their own bubble. And when you’re in that
kind of echo chamber, it feels very scary to step outside of it,”
she said. “

People have black armbands on around the
Democratic caucus, because it feels like we’ve lost Lindsey
Graham. He is someone who was willing to step outside that bubble
from time to time and really do the hard work on issues like
immigration. We’re mourning right now because we fear he’s

In dealing with her vote against the confirmation of
Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, McCaskill dismissed the
notion made by many pundits that it cost her the election.

I don’t think my vote hurt me as much as the spectacle that
occurred. There were mistakes made by my party in terms of how
that was handled,” she said. “I don’t think that
communication [from Christine Blasey Ford] to the judiciary
committee should have been kept private as long as it was.
The FBI deals with a lot of confidential information, and that
would have absolved [judiciary committee ranking Democrat Dianne
Feinstein] of the very real perception that this was an 11th-hour
attempt to gut a guy.”

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