"None of us can be judgmental," Dingell told host Neil Cavuto. "We need to look at the number of people who voted for President Trump and why. I'm someone who thinks that we let Republicans define who we are … and you have seen all of this, everyone using different phrases to brand us."
President-elect Joe Biden is likely to face a divided federal government in 2021, with Democrats holding a reduced majority in the House of Representatives and Republicans needing to win just one of two runoff elections in January to hold the Senate.
Turning to criticism from Republicans that the Democratic Party agenda is set by radicals and "socialists," Dingell invoked her late husband's father, Rep. John Dingell Sr., D-Mich.
"My father-in-law was one of the authors of Social Security [and] he got called a socialist, he got called a communist, he had crosses burnt on his lawn," she said.
"You tell me who in America is going to call social security a socialist idea right now?" Dingell asked incredulously. "Democrats have to own what they are doing."
She added that Republicans and Democrats can come together over "dinner table" issues such as job security, trade and rural broadband expansion.
"We've got a lot of common ground," Dingell said, "and we have to do a better job of talking about it."