Seth Moulton, the Massachusetts congressman who’s best known for trying to topple Nancy Pelosi after the 2018 midterms, is insisting that voters are over that, and that the pair of Bostonians who just greeted him are atypical. We’re sitting in a loud sandwich shop near the statehouse, and a woman has just stopped by our table to wish him luck in his long-shot presidential run, while the man at her side looks more skeptical, because, he tells Moulton, “I like Nancy Pelosi!” Moulton, of course, is not running a presidential campaign about the Speaker of the House. He’s trying to put national security front and center, after successfully working with a wide range of fellow veteran candidates in the 2018 midterms. “If someone asks about health care, I talk about how I’m the only candidate in this race who has single-payer health care, and what that means,” he tells me, referring to the Veterans Affairs system. For Moulton, like almost everyone else in the race, the hard part will be breaking through in the 20-something person field. But his task is also to establish a national profile apart from his Pelosi experience. “National security resonates. It tends to be an issue that comes to the forefront as these campaigns go on, and people think about who we actually want as a commander-in-chief,” he says. “I think Trump is weakest in his job as commander-in-chief, so we have to be willing to take him on in that role.”
I’ve heard you say, repeatedly, that you’re fairly certain Trump won’t be as easy to beat as a lot of Democrats assume. What do you mean when you say that? Why do you think your fellow Democrats believe he’ll be easy to beat, and why will it be harder?
I believe they think that because I hear a lot of fellow Democrats saying that. But when you get to parts of the country where we need to win votes, the places that voted for Obama and then voted for Trump, there’s a lot more support for the president than people in places like Boston and San Francisco realize. And there’s also some certain anxiety with Democrats becoming socialists. And I hear this from voters. So it’s important that we choose a strong nominee that can go up against Trump, and it’s important that we recognize that these voters — the people who carried us to victory in the midterms — are the people we need to reach. And they’re the people that voted for folks like Mikie Sherrill in New Jersey and Elissa Slotkin in Michigan. They voted for Conor Lamb. Conor only invited four Democrats to come campaign for him. Amy McGrath, down in Kentucky, only invited two. And you’ve got to pay attention to how we won the midterms. I supported candidates who were willing to put the country first, before the party, and of the 40 seats we flipped to take back the House, 21 of them were supported by [my] Serve America [PAC]. You know, I’d put that record up against anyone else.
launched his campaign on Thursday.]
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