Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money in the 2016 Democratic primary, is not able to glean anything positive from the Kansas special election last week, where Democrat James Thompson lost by 6 points to his Republican opponent Ron Estes.
Despite Thompson's optimistic prospects, Democrats should have invested more in that race, Sanders said on CNN's "State on the Union" Sunday. Their failure to do so is more proof that Democrats are losing the will to win.
"So many of our people are giving up on the political process. It is very frightening. In the last presidential election, when Trump won, we had the lowest voter turnout over — in 20 years. And in the previous two years before that, in the midterm election, we had the lowest voter turnout in 70 years," Sanders said. "We're going to be fighting to see that the Democratic Party becomes a 50-state party. You can't just be a West Coast party and an East Coast party."
His analysis is similar to that of Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH). Ryan, who challenged Nancy Pelosi for the House minority leadership last year, has repeatedly insisted that his party stop catering to liberal elites in cities like San Francisco and New York and begin to focus their attention on the Rust Belt again. Their vast losses in November proved that the Democratic Party is already in "oblivion," he admitted.
Like Pelosi maintaining her position as House Minority Leader, the Democratic National Committee's choice in chairman also does not bode well for the party's future. Newly elected chair Tom Perez, considered by many to be the Democratic establishment, seems more interested in making profanity-laced speeches against Republicans than making actual progress.
Sanders hopes the Democrats can begin to tap into some needed energy in Tuesday's special election in Georgia, where the Democrat, Jon Ossoff, is polling surprisingly well against Republican Karen Handel.