One of Democrats' few bright spots from last week, Pennsylvania Attorney General-elect Josh Shapiro, was featured on a Democratic National Committee conference call Monday evening, introducing President Obama, who urged thousands of party activists not to lose heart.
"I am keenly aware of the anxiety people feel now," Shapiro, chairman of the Montgomery County board of commissioners, said. "The lesson we must draw from Tuesday is that we cannot rely on others to do this work for us…we understood when the president came on the scene and we have to remember, change is up to us."
Shapiro earned 2.98 million votes in being elected the state's chief law-enforcement official, roughly 800,000 more votes than Donald J. Trump got in becoming the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Pennsylvania since 1988.
Obama, sounding weary at times, thanked Shapiro for an "amazing introduction," which started off quoting the president's warning in his second inaugural address in 2013 that victories are partial and fleeting in the struggle for national progress.
Already the campaign to become the new head of the DNC is heating up. Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, a Muslim-American who is cochairman of the progressive caucus in the House, is being pushed by supporters for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton. Former Chairman Howard Dean, who stressed a 50-state grassroots organizing strategy, has thrown his hat in the ring, as have former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and New Hampshire state Chairman Ray Buckley.
Obama said it was time for Democrats to assess what went wrong and begin the task of rebuilding.
"How can we build for elections not just for president, but every year?" Obama said. "We have better ideas but they have to be heard for us to actually translate those ideas into votes and ultimately into action. The challenge we have is partly because of geographic distribution," he said. "There are big parts of the country that are just not hearing us." Democrats have to show up, "day in and day out," Obama said.