Democratic members of Congress are learning how to converse with regular people during a retreat this week to prepare to battle President Donald Trump.
Several liberal speakers–including political operative David Brock, Center for American Progress CEO Neera Tanden, and Priorities USA CEO Guy Cecil–were scheduled to speak to Democratic lawmakers in Sheperdstown, W.Va. on Thursday, Politico reported.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) moderated an earlier session described as a "discussion with Trump voters," according to a draft schedule of the retreat that Politico obtained. Many of the events were geared toward understanding Trump voters and how to convert them to support Democrats in 2018.
Manchin and nine other Democratic senators are up for reelection next year in states that Trump won. Republicans currently hold a small majority in the Senate, and the election could potentially swing the balance of power further in favor of the GOP or give Democrats control once again.
A criticism of the Democratic Party coming out of the 2016 elections was that it had forgotten how to talk to working-class white voters, who were more concerned about jobs and the economy than social justice issues. Trump was able to win many union members who normally vote for Democrats in 2016. The Democratic Party has also been criticized as being run by "coastal elites" rather than people from Middle America.
One session at the Democratic retreat focused on "speaking to those who feel invisible in rural America." Two others were titled "Listening to those feel unheard" and "Rising America–They feel unheard too."