Politics

Seth Moulton wants a ‘new generation of Democrats’

Late Night with Seth Meyers/Screenshot

No one asks US Representative Seth Moulton for his autograph anymore (so he says).

But when Moulton was serving in the Marine Corps in Iraq, he was a low-key celebrity, creating an Iraqi television program, “Moulton and Mohammed,” with his translator abroad.

“I used to get fan mail. I used to have to sign autographs in the street. I mean, no one asks me for my autograph now, so this is a total step down,” Moulton joked Tuesday night, reminiscing on his local stardom on “Late Night with Seth Meyers.”

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Moulton said the purpose of the local TV show was to give Iraqis a chance to see television from a non-state-controlled source of media.

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“Well, it was amazing because we actually believed in the Marine Corps that free media was important to a democracy, sort of a crazy concept these days,” Moulton said to applause from the audience.

For most of his segment with Meyers, Moulton spoke about his efforts to get more veterans involved in politics.

“I wouldn’t be here if not for being a veteran,” he said, remembering his first experience running for office, when most Democrats refused to stand behind him for challenging the Democratic incumbent.

“Fundamentally, what they were saying to me as a veteran was, ‘Do not participate in the democracy you risked your life to defend,’ ” he said. “And that’s wrong.”

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Moulton said he wants a “new generation of Democrats” to stand bravely up against “the party establishment” of Democrats, who he describes as those who would rather talk poorly about Republicans than talk positively about their own visions.

“The party establishment has gotten us into a terrible position right now,” he said. “We don’t control anything in Washington. . . . The thing about veterans, they know how to challenge the establishment. They’re not afraid to take on the people in control. They’re not afraid to put people over politics or over their political party,” he said.

To improve the party, Moulton said, Democrats need to be willing to change — willing to stand up and talk about their vision for the country and “not just what Trump is doing wrong.”

“The problem right now is we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror as Democrats and recognize that we’ve lost,” he said. “We stand for the right things, but we’ve lost a lot of elections.”

Felicia Gans can be reached at felicia.gans@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.