Democrats to Sanders: Get Your Attack Dogs In Line

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Sep 09, 2017 7:30 PM
Democrats to Sanders: Get Your Attack Dogs In Line

So, we all know that the Democratic Party is in rough shape. They’re struggling raising money, they have no leader (Tom Perez is taking a side gig teaching, by the way), no message, and they’re 0-4 in special elections. The recent chairman race in California, which ended with the more establishment candidate winning and the Bernie Sanders-supporting insurgent refusing to concede, threatens to ignite a civil war. It’s no secret that the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, which adores Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has become more vocal and more active in their attempts to drag of the rest of the party to the left. They want stringent and uncompromising litmus tests on abortion and single-payer healthcare, especially when it comes to the latter. These purity tests have made the more establishment wing queasy, noting that they simply cannot retake Congress or the White House with such far left candidates.

Besides the Iraq War going terribly at the time in 2006, Democrats were able to reclaim Congress during the Bush administration because they had good candidate recruitment and they were able to pick off red districts. That's all gone now. That farm system is dead. It means a hard core San Francisco-like Democrat would probably fair poorly in a right-leaning district. This brings us to abortion and how the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee said they would not withhold support from Democrats running for office who are pro-life, though they later told an anti-abortion Democratic group that they would no longer work with them on the 2018 midterms, so go figure. Needless to say, the initial reaction from the Left had them frothing at the mouth.

With 2020 already being discussed, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ name has been mentioned, though Democrats are now telling him he needs to rein in his attack dogs, with the final straw appearing to be when the Sanders wing attacked Sen. Kamala Harris. Progressives are not big fans of her, noting her ties to Wall Street. The message to Sanders is clear: get these people in line if you want to be taken seriously in 2020 (via Politico) [emphasis mine]:

Prominent Democrats are increasingly riled by attacks from Bernie Sanders' supporters, whose demands for ideological purity are hurting the party ahead of the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election, they say.

But it’s not just the outside agitators that Democratic lawmakers, operatives and activists are annoyed with: They’re tired of what they see as the Vermont senator’s hesitance to confront his own backers, either in public or through back channels.

Tensions boiled over recently when a handful of Sanders loyalists bashed freshman Sen. Kamala Harris — a rising star in the party and potential 2020 hopeful — as an establishment tool. Democrats were also rankled that other prominent Sanders allies said support for single-payer health care should be a litmus test for candidates.

In response, Democratic senators and outside groups have begun telling Sanders and friendly intermediaries that if he wants to be a leading figure for Democrats ahead of 2020’s presidential election, he needs to get his supporters in line — or at least publicly disavow their more incendiary statements.

The confrontations, they insist, threaten party unity ahead of a critical midterm election cycle, when Democrats have a shot at winning the House and several governor’s offices.

Oh, there’s nothing like Democratic blood sports. I think some are about to begin.