Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) blasted “corporate Democrats” for rejecting far-left policies in the wake of their losses in the U.S. House of Representatives, reflecting the bitter divide between Democrats as moderate members blame far-left proposals for their party’s defeats.
In an op-ed published Wednesday, Sanders praised the work of the “progressive community” for bringing Joe Biden (D) over the finish line, but admitted that the “blue wave” did not materialize, calling the results in both the House and Senate races “disappointing.” In the days following, there have been reports of Democrat infighting between moderates and the radical left.
“We have to commit to not saying the words ‘defund the police’ ever again,” Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) told her colleagues.
“We need to not ever use the words socialist or socialism ever again. It does matter, and we have lost good members because of that,” she continued. She added that Democrats will get “fucking torn apart” if they continue down that road.
House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC) also expressed concern over the radical rhetoric, telling colleagues they are “not going to win” if they “run on Medicare for All, defund the police, socialized medicine.”
“Now, with the blame game erupting, corporate Democrats are attacking so-called far-left policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal for election defeats in the House and the Senate. They are dead wrong,” Sanders wrote, adding that the 112 cosponsors of Medicare for All won their races. Another 98 co-sponsors of the Green New Deal were “on the ballot” in November, all of whom — minus one — won their elections, Sanders added.
The Vermont senator appealed to Fox News polls, which have come under intense scrutiny over the course of the election, which found that a majority favor changing to a “government-run health care plan” and support “increasing government spending on green and renewable energy.”
The lesson is not to abandon popular policies like Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, living wage jobs, criminal justice reform and universal child care, but to enact an agenda that speaks to the economic desperation being felt by the working class — Black, white, Latino, Asian American and Native American. People are hurting, and they are crying out for help. We must respond.
Sanders also listed some of the “progressive” policies approved by voters in individual states, such as the $15 minimum wage in Florida and tax increases in Arizona.
“The American people are sick and tired of seeing billionaires and Wall Street become much richer, while veterans sleep out on the streets, our infrastructure crumbles and young people leave school deeply in debt,” he continued.
The embrace of such progressive policies, he added, is “the way to win elections.”
Prior to the election, Sanders, alongside “Squad” members Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), voiced their intention to make Biden “the most progressive president since FDR”:
“But we understand that electing Biden is not the end-all,” Sanders said during the virtual discussion. “It is the beginning.”