Democrats need to tell people how they are going to heal the country: former Virginia governor

Twenty Democratic presidential candidates will gather on stage for the second round of debates on Wednesday and Thursday, and the stakes are high.

“The Democrats have got to come out and tell people how they're going to heal the country and what we need to do going forward,” Former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. “The issues that people are sitting home thinking about, they're not talking about — you've got to start talking to Americans about issues that affect them every single day.”

In the first debate, candidates criticized several of President Donald Trump’s policies. Julian Castro led the talks on immigration and said ‘in January 2021 we will say adios to Donald Trump.’ Senator Elizabeth Warren accused Trump of an economy that ‘only works for the thinest slice at the top.’

But there was no mention of K-12, workforce development, job creation, infrastructure and cybersecurity, McAuliffe said. ”I was disappointed. I hope this debate Democrats lean in and tell what we’re going to do and what we’re going to do to go forward.”

FILE - This June 27, 2019 file photo shows Democratic presidential candidates from left, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, former Vice-President Joe Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., on the second night of the Democratic primary debate hosted by NBC News in Miami. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

America divided

The former governor has been a long-time vocal critic of Trump. “The division that he's created in our nation, people are against this,” McAuliffe said.

“It’s very hard for Trump to win again. Trump has created fear, division, and hatred,” he said referring to the 2020 presidential election.

Nearly two years ago, the streets of Charlottesville, Va. were filled with white supremacists who travelled to the city for what they called the ‘Unite the Right’ rally. It quickly turned violent. The first night concluded with marchers throwing flamed torches at students. The second day got worse. A vehicle charged at a crowd and left one person dead and 19 injured. On that day, McAuliffe, then governor of Virginia, called the president.

“I told him what a mess we had on our hands,” he said. “I thought he was going to do the right thing and condemn Neo-Nazis and then horribly, horribly gave his speech and said there were fine people on both sides.”

McAuliffe said the rally happened because “those people feel empowered” by Trump.

“They used to wear hoods in this country and they used to do it at night,” he said. “Because of Donald Trump they don’t think they need to hide. I don't blame him for specific acts, but I do for the environment that he's created that people think this is OK. It's not OK.”

Valentina Caval is a producer for Yahoo Finance’s On the Move.

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