Former President Barack Obama advised Democrats to be more welcoming of new leadership if the party wants to appeal to young people.
“One thing I will say about the Democratic Party, promoting young people is really important. We stick so long with the same old folks and don’t make room for new voices,” Obama told Snapchat’s Good Luck America.
As an example, Obama cited Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The liberal firebrand, 31, who was a staunch supporter of President-elect Joe Biden’s main primary rival, Sen. Bernie Sanders, spoke for less than two minutes during the Democratic convention over the summer.
“The fact that AOC only got, what? Three minutes or five minutes? When she speaks to a broad section of young people who are interested in what she has to say, even if they don’t agree with everything she says,” he said. “New blood is always good. And I say that as somebody who used to be the young, shiny cool guy. But now is the gray-haired old grizzled vet.”
Biden was dogged by criticism that he struggled to enthuse young people throughout both the primary and general campaigns. But a majority of voters under the age of 30 cast a ballot for him last month, a record level of turnout, according to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University.
At the same time, Biden is 78, and Democrats are led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, 80, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70, in Congress.
Obama spoke to Snapchat as he promotes the first installment of his two-part post-presidency memoir, A Promised Land. He sold almost 890,000 copies in the United States and Canada during the first 24 hours of its release.