Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) told Politico on Thursday that unless the Democratic Party executes a “course correction” quickly, the GOP will “stand an excellent chance of gaining control of the House and quite possibly the Senate.”
The self-proclaimed Socialist Democrat told his colleagues that they would have to do more than simply criticize Republicans on their abortion and firearms positions if they want to avoid disaster in the upcoming November midterm elections.
Sanders said that Democrats cannot win elections with a “bumper sticker that says, ‘Well, we can’t do much, but the other side is worse.’” He even suggested that the party could learn something by studying Speaker Newt Gingrich’s “Contract with America” in 1994, following Bill Clinton’s first election.
He said that the bulk of Democrats should take a run at publicizing how it is burdened with what he called “two corporate Democrats who are not going to be with us.” He confirmed he was referring to Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
He added that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) should tell the public that the party only has 48 votes right now and needs more to pass anything. “That should be the message of the campaign,” he said.
Manchin and Sinema have both been firm in their commitment to preserving the Senate filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to advance ordinary, non-budgetary legislation. Sinema, in particular, has emphasized that the rule is essential to the protection of the minority party, which Democrats will surely be again, sooner or later.
Both moderate senators have also said they will not support Joe Biden’s proposed $2 trillion “Build Back Better” spending bonanza. Sanders said that it has been “downhill ever since for the Democratic Party” after the failure of Build Back Better.
Manchin told Politico that he has “never berated” Bernie over his socialist views, and said it is “a shame” he refused to accept his moderate approach.
Sanders told the outlet that he met with Schumer last week about a smaller climate and tax bill that might get through the Senate before the midterms. He added that he is not optimistic about its chances. He said that for the nine months that Schumer has been negotiating with Manchin, “support for Democrats has dissipated very rapidly.”
Sanders added that he believes Biden should be pushing new initiatives immediately, including a minimum wage increase, Medicare expansion, housing expenditures, and climate emergency measures. The outspoken socialist added that he hopes Biden will take further action through executive orders on what he considers to be those most important issues.