I’ve seen a number of self-professed Democrats in various Facebook groups having a hissy fit that Bernie Sanders is out on the road with Tom Perez, the new DNC leader, trying to appeal to voters in all 50 states. To them, it is some sort of conspiracy by Bernie Sanders to take over the Democratic Party, even though he remains an independent who is often to the left of many Democrats in Congress.
Whether or not Democrats want to admit it, they haven’t been doing well in elections since 2008. Even though President Obama won two terms as president, Republicans have been gobbling up seats at the state level, and now control both houses of Congress.
This is why congressional and state legislatures have been gerrymandered in favor of Republicans. Rural and red state liberals are isolated from the national party, in favor of preaching to the choir in places like San Francisco and New York City. Hillary Clinton didn’t run on a “50 state strategy” and I believe this is what cost her and the DNC the 2016 election.
Democrats need to go back to Howard Dean’s “50 state strategy” that worked so well for them in 2006, which is exactly what it appears Tom Perez and Bernie Sanders are trying to do.
Along the way, the pair will travel to competitive states like Florida, as well as traditionally conservative ones like Kentucky and Texas, where liberal voters have long felt abandoned by the Democratic party. The tour ends in Las Vegas, Nevada, a swing state that elected Democrats up and down the ballot on election night 2016.
The team-up is part of an effort to unify the party after a stinging election night loss that left the party fractious and leaderless. With the 2018 congressional election on the horizon, Democrats are working to capitalize on the liberal movement that’s coalesced in opposition to Trump’s agenda. (The Guardian)
In case it hasn’t already been pointed out, Hillary Clinton is not on this tour, and she has said that the 2016 election was her “last race.”
I’m not here to trash Hillary Clinton as some of my most rabid anti-Clinton followers would like, but this tour by Bernie Sanders and Tom Perez is about the future of the Democratic Party, not revisiting the mistakes of the 2016 election. Let’s also remember that after the primaries were done, Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary and campaigned for her, which angered the far-left who either refused to vote, or went for Jill Stein instead.
Whether establishment Democrats like it or not, Bernie Sanders and the millions of young and independent voters who support him are the future of the party. The DNC has to attract new voters, not just try to hang on to an aging and shrinking base that has sadly vilified Senator Sanders and people like me who registered as Democrats to vote for him.
Democrats cannot continue solely competing in safe districts and liberal metro areas. I can tell you that there are many moderate and populist Democrats in red states who feel like the DNC has ignored them, and candidates who have tried to compete in blue-leaning districts across the South. Louisiana has a moderate Democrat as governor who won without much support from the national party, but this was an exception to the rule, something the DNC should keep in mind going forward.
Hillary Clinton said that 2016 was her last race and I’m perfectly OK with that. Bernie Sanders will be 79 in 2020, and he’s probably not going to run then either. It’s time for Democrats to move on, start promoting younger, progressive candidates – and Bernie Sanders is just the person to do that.