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Politics As Bernie Sanders’s momentum builds, down-ballot Democrats move to distance themselves

03:55  23 february  2020
03:55  23 february  2020 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Why some Democrats are worried Bernie Sanders could be unstoppable for the 2020 nomination

  Why some Democrats are worried Bernie Sanders could be unstoppable for the 2020 nomination Even if he keeps winning only a quarter of the vote, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders could still capture the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.He has fewer delegates than Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

As Sanders builds what could eventually be an insurmountable delegate lead, many Down - ballot candidates will not be able to simply spurn Sanders if he is the nominee, prominent Democrats “It feels like we are moving to almost a parliamentary system where voters are voting straight ticket

Senator Bernie Sanders is embarking on a second run for president. This time the field will be bigger, more diverse and filled with candidates who have The good news for Mr. Sanders ’ s foes is that his polling is down significantly in early-nominating states from 2016, he is viewed more negatively

Former astronaut Mark Kelly, the Democratic Party’s hope for flipping a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona, tried to do no harm this month when he was asked about Sen. Bernie Sanders. “I will ultimately support who the nominee is of the Democratic Party,” he said.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) greets supporters at the SNHU Field House in Manchester, N.H., after giving a victory speech following his victory in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11. © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) greets supporters at the SNHU Field House in Manchester, N.H., after giving a victory speech following his victory in the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11.

That was enough for Kelly’s Republican rival, Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who is trailing him in early polls, to go on the attack. The television spot she debuted days later spent nearly as much time talking about plans by the democratic socialist from Vermont to raise taxes and award new benefits to undocumented immigrants as it did about Kelly.

Live Nevada Caucus updates: State prepares to pick Democratic presidential nominee

  Live Nevada Caucus updates: State prepares to pick Democratic presidential nominee Here are live updates on the Nevada Caucus as Democrats prepare to pick presidential nominee.Now that voters in Iowa and New Hampshire have cast their ballots, it's Nevada's turn to weigh in on the 2020 presidential race.

LAS VEGAS — Senator Bernie Sanders claimed a major victory in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday that demonstrated his broad appeal in the first racially diverse state in the presidential primary race and established him as the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination. In a significant show of force

Senator Bernie Sanders at a rally in Reno on Tuesday. The Democratic candidates’ urgency to contrast themselves with Mr. Sanders came as expectations grew among rival campaigns and political operatives that he was likely to win Nevada’ s caucuses on Saturday.

As Sanders builds what could eventually be an insurmountable delegate lead, many Democratic House and Senate candidates are approaching a dramatic shift in their campaigns, as they recalibrate to include praise of capitalism and distance themselves from the national party. Top campaign strategists from both parties view Sanders’s success as a potentially tectonic event, which could narrow the party’s already slim hopes of retaking the Senate majority and fuel GOP dreams of reclaiming the House, which it lost amid a Democratic romp in 2018.

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Latinos, Sanders’s secret weapon in Nevada, could make him unstoppable on Super Tuesday

  Latinos, Sanders’s secret weapon in Nevada, could make him unstoppable on Super Tuesday Chuck Rocha, a 51-year-old self-described “Mexican redneck,” has become a leader of Bernie Sanders’ 2020 operation, serving as a senior adviser with a broad purview that includes general strategy, hiring staff and overseeing print ads and merchandise. Rocha also crafts the campaign’s Spanish-language ads on television, radio and the internet. If anyone is  responsible for the huge Latino outreach effort that has helped propel Sanders to the front of the Democratic pack, it’s Rocha. require(["medianetNativeAdOnArticle"], function (medianetNativeAdOnArticle) { medianetNativeAdOnArticle.

Mr. Sanders is trumpeting endorsements to compete with Elizabeth Warren. COLUMBUS, Ohio — For months, the Democratic presidential race has seemed to move inexorably toward a Surveys there indicate that about half the Democrats planning to participate in the caucuses are moderate or

Momentum also worked with organisers from Bernie Sanders ' 2016 presidential campaign to hold Democrat politicians to be used for videos[1] and also people creating videos of themselves Momentum has used social media advertising to encourage people to register to vote for the election.

“I can tell you that there are a lot of down-ballot jitters based on my conversations with my former colleagues,” said former Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), a longtime confidant of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who led congressional election efforts from 2011 to 2015.

“Donald Trump is going to offer the American people this choice: Do you want to continue building the economy or do you want to lurch toward socialism? And that is a real powerful argument in the Democratic districts that Trump won in 2016.”

With an emphatic victory in Saturday’s Nevada caucuses, Sanders has won two of the first three contests, and lost the third — the Iowa caucuses — in a squeaker. He also holds leads in polls in many of the Super Tuesday states that vote March 3 — a point by which nearly 4 in 10 delegates nationally will have been chosen.

Internal polling and analytics completed last week by former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg’s campaign projected that Sanders may be the only presidential candidate to win delegates in every state and district on March 3, delivering him a lead of 350 to 400 out of 1,357 delegates set to be awarded unless race dynamics change, according to a person familiar with the data who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak publicly.

5 takeaways from the Nevada caucuses

  5 takeaways from the Nevada caucuses LAS VEGAS - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won a resounding victory at the Nevada caucuses on Saturday, putting together a coalition of young people, Latinos and working-class voters to cement his status as front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination.Here are five takeaways from the Nevada caucuses.Sanders has a diverse coalition that could carry him to the nominationIn the 2016 primary, Sanders struggled mightily with voters of color, who broke in large numbers for Hillary Clinton and ultimately propelled her to the nomination.Since then, Sanders has invested heavily in outreach to racial minorities and he's accumulated a diverse team of dynamic surrogates.

Senator Bernie Sanders remains near the top of polls in Iowa and other early states.Credit Jordan Gale for The New York Times. It’ s been there ever since. “Why take it down ?” she said on a recent Monday evening, during a break from making calls to potential Sanders supporters.

Meanwhile, the momentum Bernie Sanders has built in the Democratic Primary will translate directly into momentum in the general election. Sanders still is packing rallies with thousands and thousands of supporters — and not just in enthusiastic states like California, where 27

Because of Democratic rules that give no delegates to candidates who scores less than 15 percent of the vote in a state or congressional district, Sanders could build a delegate lead far greater than his advantage in the popular vote.

If Democrats are awakening to a recognition that Sanders could pull away from the rest of the field, there is far less consensus about whether his nomination will help President Trump win reelection. Sanders’s power to turn out young and blue-collar voters or suburbanites is not fully tested, the ceiling of Trump’s support is poorly defined in a two-way race and the senator from Vermont has not yet been subjected to a negative paid advertising effort.

“Our data shows that all of our potential nominees, including Sanders, have a pathway to victory, but it isn’t guaranteed,” said Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA, a Democratic super PAC that has polled heavily in the key presidential swing states. “This election will be close regardless of who we nominate.”

But there is far less flexibility for candidates in smaller districts. That has prompted Republicans to celebrate as they look to reclaim ground they lost in 2018 when largely affluent suburbs rebelled against the GOP in a protest of Trump.

Bernie Sanders, powered by diverse liberal coalition, forces a reckoning for Democrats

  Bernie Sanders, powered by diverse liberal coalition, forces a reckoning for Democrats With an emphatic Nevada win, Bernie Sanders brings his insurgency closer to a takeover of the party, prompting a season of open hostility.The senator’s ascendancy, though years in the making, is forcing a sudden reckoning in the Democratic Party’s hierarchy, as centrist politicians and their wealthy benefactors grapple with the upheaval brought by an electorate not only hungry to defeat President Trump, but also clamoring for radical change.

“The Democrats’ embrace of socialism is going to cost them their majority — I mean, it’s as simple as that,” said Rep. Tom Emmer (R-Minn.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee. “Bernie is about as good a contrast as we could have ever hoped for.”

Democrats, particularly those representing swing districts, agree.

“We flipped those seats [in 2018] because of Donald Trump,” said one House Democrat who represents a suburban district, speaking on the condition of anonymity to reflect internal discussions. “And if Democrats want to hand most of those back, put Bernie at the top of the ticket. And that’s how many of us feel.”

The House member added: “Our overarching priority [is] to replace the president, but to do so with someone who is going to be equally divisive does not serve the country’s interests, and I think that’s at the core of what is making so many so uncomfortable.”

a man sitting in front of a crowd: Supporters listen as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during the Bernie Beats Trump concert Feb. 10 at Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, N.H. © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Supporters listen as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during the Bernie Beats Trump concert Feb. 10 at Whittemore Center Arena in Durham, N.H.

Several of Sanders’s rivals have begun to warn about a potential down-ballot rout. They have raised particular concern about Sanders’s support for a Medicare-for-all plan, which would effectively eliminate private health insurance in the United States.

Can Sanders beat Trump? A growing number of Democratic voters say yes

  Can Sanders beat Trump? A growing number of Democratic voters say yes A growing number of the party's voters see the senator as their best chance of winning in November. © Reuters/RANDALL HILL Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks with voters at the First in the South Dinner in Charleston. Sanders' dominating performance in last week's Nevada caucuses, powered by growing support across age, race and ideology, has set off alarm bells among Democratic Party officials who believe putting the progressive stalwart at the top of the ticket will harm the party's chances up and down the ballot.

The leading Democratic candidates running for the four most vulnerable Republican Senate seats — in Arizona, North Carolina, Maine and Colorado — have all come out against Sanders’s signature health care plan, as have many House candidates.

“With a divisive nominee like Bernie Sanders, we not only risk losing the race for the White House, we also risk losing the House of Representatives and allowing the courts to be further shaped by Trump’s radical vision for our country,” said Lis Smith, a top adviser to former South Bend, Ind., mayor Pete Buttigieg.

The issue is likely to move to the forefront of the presidential race in the coming days. At a Las Vegas middle school Friday night, swing-district Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) took a jab at Sanders by suggesting that any candidate other than former vice president Joe Biden would put the House majority at risk.

“The greatest thing about Joe Biden, fighting for Nevada families, is he knows it’s going to take a team,” Horsford told hundreds of Biden supporters. “He is the best candidate positioned to help us keep the Democratic majority in the House and win the U.S. Senate.”

The moderate think tank Third Way has urged the presidential candidates to train their fire on Sanders at Tuesday’s South Carolina debate, issuing a memo that cites a recent Gallup survey that found 51 percent of independents would not vote for a self-described socialist for president.

“The suburbs are not looking for a revolution,” said Matt Bennett, co-founder of Third Way. “They want change, for sure. Many of them loathe Trump with a burning passion, but they do not want somebody who is proposing to double the size of the federal government. They do not want somebody who is proposing to take away the health care of 180 million people.”

Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders

  Democratic Leaders Willing to Risk Party Damage to Stop Bernie Sanders Interviews with dozens of Democratic Party officials, including 93 superdelegates, found overwhelming opposition to handing Bernie Sanders the nomination if he fell short of a majority of delegates.And officials in the national and state parties are increasingly anxious about splintered primaries on Super Tuesday and beyond, where the liberal Mr. Sanders edges out moderate candidates who collectively win more votes.

A Washington Post-ABC News Poll this week found that Sanders had the worst standing against Trump among college-educated white women, the group most responsible for powering Democrats to their 2018 House majority. Sanders had a statistically insignificant two percentage-point edge over Trump among women voters with college degrees in the poll, compared with Buttigieg, Biden, Bloomberg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who all beat Trump by 10 points or more among that the same group.

Bennett said the past few weeks have seen an explosion of private conversations about how to reckon with — and potentially mitigate — a Sanders nomination. On Capitol Hill, Democrats have been circulating an unflattering private poll paid for by a rival presidential candidate that tests negative messages against Sanders among voters in six presidential swing states.

“Bernie Sanders is a socialist who supports un-American, big government plans that will spend trillions of dollars, lead to higher taxes, and destroy our way of life,” reads one line of the polling test. The poll does not test Sanders’s rebuttal to such an attack.

Dan Conston, executive director of the Congressional Leadership Fund, the largest GOP super PAC focused on House races, said Sanders’s presence lends instant credibility to the GOP’s long-standing efforts to tie any Democrat to the far left. Republicans frequently accused Democrats of being socialist in 2018, but the effect was muted in a field dominated by moderate candidates.

“Part of making a message effective is that it has to be believable,” Conston said. “You not only have now a series of actual votes and actual positions among members of Congress — not just candidates — you add on top of that, a presidential candidate whom we don’t just accuse of being a socialist, he openly says he is. That creates a completely different reality for a voter than before.”

How Trump and Sanders turned populist rage into political power

  How Trump and Sanders turned populist rage into political power There are critical distinctions: Sanders sees the culprits as the financial elite, billionaires and chief executives while Trump's movement is based on cultural resentments and blames immigrants and women.Onstage, a city council member gave a speech urging a “powerful socialist movement to end all capitalist oppression.” An actor accused the news media of slanted coverage. In the crowd, one Sanders supporter hoisted a sign that read: “Obi-Wan Bernobi — He’s our only hope.” Another wore a jumpsuit festooned with pictures of Sanders.

Bernie Sanders et al. standing in front of a crowd: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arrives with his family at the SNHU Fieldhouse in Manchester, N.H., after winning the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11. © Salwan Georges/The Washington Post Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) arrives with his family at the SNHU Fieldhouse in Manchester, N.H., after winning the New Hampshire primary on Feb. 11.

Down-ballot candidates will not be able to simply spurn Sanders if he is the nominee, prominent Democrats warn, lest they risk the ire of his base. Former Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who presided over efforts to win the Senate back for Democrats in 2006 and expanded that majority to a filibuster-proof margin two years later, said in an interview Thursday that as the nominee, Sanders would have to personally assure Senate candidates like Arizona’s Kelly and former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper that they have a free hand to run their campaigns on their own terms — and distance themselves without fearing blowback.

“He cannot be a distant leader of the party,” Reid said, discussing the possibility of a Sanders nomination. “He’s going to have to be personally involved with it, so they feel comfortable. If not, there’s going to be a problem.”

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a co-chairman of the Sanders campaign, said the senator is “not going to have an iron fist” should he win the nomination.

“He’s going to build a coalition through persuasion and a grass-roots movement, and he’s going to understand give people the ability to depart on issues if they are representing their districts,” said Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley and does not share some Sanders positions critical of the tech industry. “You know how I know this? He’s given me the ability to depart on issues as a co-chair where I may disagree with him. He’s a person who recognizes the value of intellectual dissent.”

Sanders’s backers — and some other Democratic Party strategists — believe the risk to down-ballot candidates is overstated, especially since so many of the Democratic candidates in competitive races are raising more money than their GOP opponents. In a polarized political atmosphere, they argue, the specifics of a presidential candidate’s platform will ultimately matter little — leaving down-ballot candidates more room to forge their own identities.

Ian Russell, a former national political director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who is now consulting for multiple Democratic congressional campaigns, said that any challenges for swing-district Democrats will not be unique to Sanders.

“If you are seen as simply a rubber stamp for your party, then you have problems,” Russell said. “You need to already be working in your district to show that you’re focused on solutions.”

Khanna said Sanders’s leftist economic platform can have appeal in the suburbs — if packaged appropriately.

“You can talk about these issues in a way that is pro-economic growth. You can talk about these policies in a way that is pro-business,” he said. “What I believe is that he is going to get extraordinary turnout for our party at the top of the ticket. He is going to connect with working-class voters who Trump took from us last time, and then every candidate can tailor their message to their districts.”

Yet Republican strategists, who have often tried unsuccessfully to separate down-ballot candidates from their own unpopular president, say that task has become increasingly difficult in recent years.

“It feels like we are moving to almost a parliamentary system where voters are voting straight ticket,” said Republican pollster Neil Newhouse, who has found in recent polling that Trump is significantly more popular than Sanders in competitive House races. “Sitting back and watching the Democrats and their primary is an extraordinary experience, and I am glad it’s not us.”

mike.debonis@washpost.com

michael.scherer@washpost.com

Paul Kane contributed to this report from Las Vegas.

How Trump and Sanders turned populist rage into political power .
There are critical distinctions: Sanders sees the culprits as the financial elite, billionaires and chief executives while Trump's movement is based on cultural resentments and blames immigrants and women.Onstage, a city council member gave a speech urging a “powerful socialist movement to end all capitalist oppression.” An actor accused the news media of slanted coverage. In the crowd, one Sanders supporter hoisted a sign that read: “Obi-Wan Bernobi — He’s our only hope.” Another wore a jumpsuit festooned with pictures of Sanders.

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