|Three Virginia Democrats who could lose |
their seats if Sanders wins the 2020 nomination.
In 2018 Democrats picked up three (3) congressional seats in moderate districts where the Democrat candidates ran as moderates and disavowed more extreme positions of the far left in the Party. Now, with the potential of a Bernie Sanders nomination, all three House members are seeing their prospects for reelection threatened by the potential of a radioactive top of the ticket. While Bernie Sanders and his followers - who seemingly have imbibed large amounts of Kool-Aid laced with a mind altering drug - remain in denial as to Sanders toxicity in many parts of the country, Democrats in touch with reality are terrified a Sanders nomination would allow Republicans to not only retain the White House and and control of the Senate but also allow the GOP to recapture the House of Representatives. It is insane to nominate a candidate whose only chance of winning is that voters might hate Trump more. It could set the stage for a repeat of 2016 when many voters (foolishly, in my view) stayed home because they disliked both candidates. A piece in the Washington Post looks at the disaster that a Sanders nomination would be for Virginia Democrats. Here are excerpts:
Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) wasted no time in denouncing presidential candidate Bernie Sanders this week after he said he would skip the annual conference of the pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee.“Senator Sanders’ comments only contribute to the divisive rhetoric often used when discussing the issue of Israel’s right to exist,” Luria said in a statement Tuesday that rocketed around social media.
Her swift reaction was an example of the tactics she and other centrist Democrats may use to try to steer clear of the senator from Vermont, a self-described democratic socialist, if he wins their party’s presidential nomination.
Analysts say Sanders could endanger down-ballot incumbents, especially moderates such as Luria, a Navy veteran who ousted a Republican in a swing district in 2018 and helped Democrats win control of the House.
Already, GOP candidates and groups targeting the once deep-red Virginia districts held by Luria, Rep. Abigail Spanberger and Rep. Jennifer Wexton have tried to link the freshman lawmakers to Sanders and others in the party’s left flank. Luria, who has endorsed former vice president Joe Biden, won’t risk being painted as a Sanders acolyte — especially when it comes to one of her signature issues: Israel.
In 2018, Luria, Spanberger and Wexton appealed to moderate Democrats and Republican-leaning independents by promising to work with Republicans and vote independently of their party.
Sanders, who favors starkly liberal positions such as a single-payer health-care system, free public college and a national $15 minimum wage, could force them to go on the defensive and undermine their efforts to win a second term.
“The Democratic nominee doesn’t matter much except if it’s Sanders,” said Rachel Bitecofer, assistant director of the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va.
Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University, said Spanberger and Luria have the most to lose with Sanders at the top of the ticket. Sanders plans to barnstorm Virginia ahead of the primary, with rallies in Richmond on Thursday as well as in Wexton’s hometown of Leesburg and Virginia Beach, in Luria’s district, on Saturday.
“The voters in their district turned Democrat because each of them ran as political centrists,” Rozell said. “But the voters could turn right back again if they perceive that the Democratic Party is captured by the ideological extreme wing.”
[T]he National Republican Congressional Committee is already taunting her [Luria] about Sanders, asking in a mass email Tuesday: “Is she ready to reverse course and refuse to support the socialist and upset her socialist base?”
Spanberger and Wexton have not made endorsements in the presidential contest and have no plans to at the moment. Spanberger, a former CIA officer, said she has already cast her absentee ballot; she declined to reveal her choice or rule anyone out.
Rob Jones, one of several Republicans vying to challenge Wexton in November, suggested last week that because Wexton often votes the same way as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a top Sanders surrogate, Wexton must support Sanders.
Wexton balked at that logic, and said: “I will not be supporting Bernie Sanders in this primary.” She said she favors a candidate who will work to lower health-care costs, reduce gun violence, strengthen the middle class and bolster the federal workforce.
In 2018, Wexton defeated the Republican incumbent Barbara Comstock, who Rozell noted was in a similar bind when it came to Trump. Comstock disavowed Trump, who was deeply unpopular in Virginia, and even called for him to drop out of the 2016 presidential race after the disclosure of the 2005 video of him making lewd comments and bragging about groping women.
“He [Trump] wins, she loses,” Rozell said. “Remarkable.”
On Super Tuesday, I urge voters to vote for anyone but Sanders. Sanders must be stopped at all cost. #neverSanders.