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Biden: Democrats Ignored The Middle Class In 2016

Former Vice President Joe Biden has chided former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign for not speaking directly enough to the American middle class during the 2016 election season.

On March 30, Biden was interviewed at the University of Pennsylvania to discuss the newly established Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. During the discussion, the former vice president offered his thoughts on how the Democrats lost the 2016 election.

"I think that what happened was that this is the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for, and that is how to maintain a burgeoning middle class," Biden said, according to The Washington Times.

Biden proceeded to criticize the Clinton campaign's message to working class families without directly naming the former secretary of state.

"You didn't hear a single solitary sentence in the last campaign about that guy working on the assembly line making $60,000 ... a year, and a wife making $32,000 as a hostess in a restaurant and they're making 90 grand and they've got two kids and they can't make it and they're scared," Biden continued. "They're frightened, because they're not stupid."

The former vice president noted that he believed the globalization that President Donald Trump had campaigned against had been successful for the U.S. economy but had also "left a lot of people behind."

Biden added that he did not believe racism was what prompted the working class to cast a ballot for Trump despite his controversial rhetoric, countering that many of those voters had also helped to elect former President Barack Obama.

"Barack and I won them. ... They voted for a black man, twice in a row, but they didn't this time," Biden said. "They didn't this time, because they look out there, and they're scared and no one's talking to them."

In October 2016, Biden had expressed his frustration with the Clinton campaign's outreach strategy, asserting that the middle class was not getting the necessary amount of messaging focus.

"Our job here is to get a focus on what really matters," Biden told CNN. "What's going to change the circumstance for the middle class person? It's about being able to send your kid to a park ... being able to own your own home and not have to rent it, being able to send your kid to a local high school, if they do well, they get into college."

Biden added: "I know Hillary feels that. ... I think that's what has to be communicated to those folks who are looking at Trump and saying, well, maybe he's the answer."

The former vice president had considered throwing his hat into the 2016 arena but ultimately withdrew himself from contention because he was still grieving from the death of his son, Beau Biden.

On March 24, Biden reflected on his decision during a panel discussion at Colgate University in New York.

"At the end of the day, I just couldn't do it," Biden said, according to the Observer-Dispatch. "So I don't regret not running. Do I regret not being president? Yes."

The former vice president added that he believed he could have won the Democratic Primary but also said that "no man or woman should announce they're running for president of the United States unless they can look the public in the eye and promise you they can give you 100 percent."

Sources: CNN, Observer-Dispatch, The Washington Times / Photo credit: U.S. Embassy Kyiv Ukraine/Flickr

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