I'll give an example of how the Democrats can change the tone.
When the Courts forced the U of Texas to stop "discriminating" to promote diversity, the U then went to a policy that gave preference to students in the top 10% of their HS class - which eroded the advantage of the white suburban school districts, b/c now they were competing against each other instead of exploiting their superior resources over poorer school districts - the result was the same as affirmative action, but far more class oriented. Now you still have to commit resources such as tutoring and a first year program to get them up to speed, but this sort of approach is "fairer" while addressing unequal opportunity.
This is how the Democrats have to change perceptions, move away from the "correct past injustices" which opens a can of worms (who pays, who gets pushed aside?) toward providing equal opportunity to those left behind, irregardless of race (which will disproportionately benefit minorities who've suffered from past discrimination).
What's weird is how afraid Democrats are of being accused of class warfare, they should embrace it, instead they seem to promote special interest big government as the solution to social ills, instead of mechanisms that don't depend on direct government interference.
Back in the 1970s, Democrats embraced deregulation to break up iron triangles that raised consumer costs, yet Reagan got to be the "deregulation" President even though Carter did most of the heavy lifting. Bad sales job.
Democrats should immediately double the IRS staff, and simply say that fairness requires that millionaires be audited at a higher rate than small businesses - that is, selling it as class warfare, that the rich shouldn't get to hide their money and sneak it out of the country.
And they should bury Bernie in a deep hole or at least muzzle him, and tell Warren to stick to consumer protection. It's obvious from this election that the Democratic Left has tainted the whole party. Americans have always been antagonistic to "socialism," even if most have no clue what it is and isn't. So stick to Populist Rhetoric and dump all that sociology 101 crap (Patriarchial, Critical Race Theory, Capitalism, etc.). You can push the same programs if you label them correctly, and don't go around praising the Sandinistas (as Ortega crushes the opposition) or Maduro or Cuba. Fight for the little guy, oppose big corporate America and intrusive government. Take up the "good government" mantra that the moderate Republicans used to own (but abandoned) and rebuild trust in our institutions.
I'd point out that this was basically the Obama playbook. And it worked pretty well, the problem was the Democrats had starved local organizations, especially in the purple and red states, and were outmaneuvered at the state level, but Obama was highly popular.