Schumer Admits Messaging Problem: ‘What the Heck Do the Democrats Stand For?’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) acknowledged Sunday that Democrats questioning the party's messaging problems have a point in the wake of another House election defeat.

Schumer said on ABC's "This Week" that the main lesson from Democrat Jon Ossoff's four-point loss in Georgia's special House election race is that the party needs a "strong, bold, sharp-edged, and common-sense economic agenda." Democrats poured more than $30 million into the race to flip the seat from red to blue but came up short.

Some Democrats frustrated with the party's mounting losses lashed out, with Rep. Tim Ryan (D., Ohio) declaring the party's brand is "worse than Trump." Ryan and some of his colleagues called this week for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) to step aside from her leadership position, citing her national unpopularity that hurts local Democrats.

"They always blame the leader," Schumer said. "I think if we come up with this strong, bold economic package, it will change things around. That's what we were missing. People don't like [President Donald] Trump. He's at 40 percent [approval]. But they say, what the heck do the Democrats stand for? Ryan has a point here. We'd better stand for something, and it can't be baby steps."

Schumer said he was talking to the different wings of the caucus represented in the more moderate Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) and far-left Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.)

Schumer said the Democrats will be laying out their new economic message this summer.