Former Obama aide tells Jason Kander: The Democratic Party needs you

Before the election, Jason Kander was considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. Nothing’s changed, even though he lost his race against U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt.

Kander, 35, continues to demonstrate that he’s going to be a player, without or without the fancy office in Washington. In recent days, he booked a trip to Iowa, spoke at a gathering of aspiring office seekers in Nashville and appeared as a guest on a podcast hosted by former aides to President Obama.

On the podcast, Keepin’ It 1600, Kander talked to Jon Favreau and Dan Pfeiffer about the relative success of his campaign. Kander lost by 78,000 votes, a strong showing for a Democrat in a state where Republicans dominated and Donald Trump received more than 500,000 votes than Hillary Clinton.

Kander told Favreau and Pfeiffer that few Democrats around the country collected as many votes from Trump voters as he did. “An awful lot of union guys who voted for him voted for me,” he said.

Kander attributed his competitiveness in the race to authenticity. He suggested that Clinton and other Democrats spent too much time tailoring messages to specific audiences. “Whether I was in a rural area or an urban area, I didn’t have to change my message, because I had a basically progressive message,” he said.

Kander also spoke about millennials, saying they’ve “lost patience with politics of left and right.” He added: “I think to be progressive means to be interested in solving problems.”

The former Obama aides liked what they heard. Pfeiffer said he was reminded of his old boss as he listened to Kander talk.

“Whatever happens next,” Pfeiffer said, “the Democratic Party needs you front and center.”

Kander joined the podcast at the 38:18 mark.

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