Congressional Black Caucus chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond (D., La.) slammed fellow Democrats for doing a "pathetic job" of reaching out to minority voters in the wake of recent election losses.
According to the New York Times, Richmond urged a change in the party's approach to attracting their votes or Democrats would suffer further losses in the House and Senate.
"If the party doesn’t change what they’re doing, we’re not going to take back the House, we’ll lose seats in the Senate and folks will come around after and say, ‘What happened?’" Richmond said. "We are doing a pathetic job of reaching out to minority voters."
Richmond's criticism comes as former President Barack Obama is set to campaign in Virginia and New Jersey on Thursday for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Ralph Northam and Phil Murphy, respectively. Democrats hope Obama's star power will excite minority voters.
While Obama himself was a huge draw in those demographics during his successful presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012, depressed minority turnout led to heavy midterm losses for the Democrats in 2010 and 2014.
In 2016, despite Obama's aggressive campaigning on behalf of Hillary Clinton, a dip in minority turnout in crucial states like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin led to upset victories there for President Donald Trump.
Richmond and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D., N.Y.) are keeping an eye on the Alabama Senate race, where Democrat Doug Jones is trying to pull off an upset against Republican Roy Moore in the special election to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
For Jones to win, he would need to maximize turnout in the state's black population, and in Jeffries' words, he can't just do "drive-bys in African American churches."
"Those days need to be over if Democrats are serious about winning," Jeffries said.