Bernie Sanders is winning the Dem civil war, and the establishment is terrified
Vermont senator Bernie Sanders will not endorse his longtime California Senate colleague Dianne Feinstein in her re-election bid. Sanders says it's an issue for the "people of California" to decide.
The former presidential candidate has publicly endorsed other Democrats on the campaign trail.
On Thursday, he announced his support for liberal candidate Marie Newman in her Illinois primary challenge against a seven-term Democratic incumbent.
Feinstein, who's served five consecutive Senate terms, failed to secure an endorsement at California's state Democratic convention last month with nearly two-thirds of the party's delegates voting against her, according to the LA Times.
The Hill reports that Feinstein was one of Hillary Clinton's biggest supporters, urging Bernie Sanders to drop out of the presidential race.
According to Politico, Feinstein's centrist approach has caused her to maintain a troubled relationship with the liberal wing of her party.
As of late January, the Sanders organization, "Our Revolution," has endorsed 113 candidates at all levels of government, and 44 have won.
In the 2017 elections, Our Revolution endorsed 113 candidates, of whom 44 won. (In order to be endorsed by Our Revolution, a candidate must be nominated by a local group, agree with Our Revolution's platform, and pledge to run "a positive campaign" and "reject money from corporate interests.") The group also supported a winning Maine voter referendum to expand Medicaid coverage in the state.
These were mostly low-profile races for state legislatures, mayoralties, city councils, and school boards. Some were in predictable parts of the country – four of the wins came on the Cambridge, Mass., city council, and another five candidates were elected to local offices in Somerville, Mass. And as Todd notes, off-year local races have the lowest turnout of any elections in the four-year cycle, and are thus the lowest-hanging fruit for a band of committed ideological activists.
Some of those candidates were extremely well funded but ended up losing. This points to the fact that no matter how much money and enthusiasm a Sanders clone can generate to win a Democratic primary, his chances in the general election against a Republican are greatly reduced due to the wild-eyed radicalism.
Establishment Democrats like Feinstein find themselves in trouble this election cycle not because they necessarily disagree with Sanders on a lot of issues – they don't – but because they are insufficiently radical on issue like the economy, the "1%," and especially health care. And Democratic primary voters, energized by anti-Trumpism, want to go all in with the Berniecrats.
There are going to be enough primary victories for Sanders clones to radically alter the make-up of the Democratic Party. Sanders doesn't have to win the presidency to take over the party. After all, George McGovern was slaughtered by Nixon in the 1972 election, and two years later, more than 50 of his acolytes entered Congress in the Watergate class of 1974.
The establishment Democrats aren't stupid about politics. They know that in order to take over the House in November, there can't be a bunch of radical socialists on the Democratic ticket. But the Democratic base appears to prefer the candidates who can stir their blood and carry the fight to Washington. It will be interesting to see if the Dems shoot themselves in the foot and run a bunch of candidates who can't win in the general election.