House Democrats are panicking over the rise of socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), predicting electoral doom if he ends up winning their party’s presidential nomination, Politico reported Tuesday.
Specifically, Politico noted that so-called “centrists” in the House are “freaking out” over predictions of a “down-ballot bloodbath” if Sanders becomes the Democrat party’s presidential nominee.
Politico appeared to downplay House Democrats’ concerns about Sanders, stressing that the more powerful members of the party in the Senate do not share the doomsday sentiment of their colleagues in the lower chamber.
The news outlet cited interviews with more than a dozen Senate Democrats.
Reportedly echoing the mood of vulnerable House Democrats running in districts won by President Donald Trump, Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA) told Politico that if Sanders is atop their party’s ticket, “We’re going to get absolutely wiped out.”
Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), described as a “centrist,” added:
I hope I’m wrong, but Bernie seems to have declared war on the Democratic Party. To win in November, we need someone who will bring us together under a big tent and protect the Democratic majority in the House — not burn the house down.
Gottheimer has endorsed former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
On Monday, Sanders reportedly acknowledged via text message that the Democrat “establishment is in full panic mode.”
However, Politico emphasized that Democrats in the Senate, the epicenter of the establishment’s power for both parties, are not panicking over Sanders’ surge toward the Democrat party nomination.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who ran for the presidential nomination this election cycle, told the news outlet:
I do believe he can beat President Trump. What Bernie has shown us until now is that he has a very broad base of very, very passionate followers. That is the first thing you need for a campaign on any level. Especially in a red or purple district.
“I’m not part of the collective freakout,” Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who chaired the campaign committees for his party in both chambers, reportedly declared.
“He’s running even with [Trump] in the national polls and… his win in Nevada shows that he won over all the demographics. So I think he’s looking really strong,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), told Politico.
With his victory in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, Sanders has solidified his status as the undisputed front-runner in the hunt for delegates.
When it comes to Sanders, the House Democrats who believe the socialist senator’s nomination would be a headache are echoing Republican sentiments.
“GOP lawmakers and strategists believe Sanders, who identifies as a democratic socialist, is not only beatable in November but could have a disastrous down-ballot impact for Democrats in key congressional races,” the Hill reported Tuesday.
“I would think that in a lot of those swing states it’s a very complicated factor to have him at the top of the ticket if you’re a down-ballot Democrat running for House or Senate, I would be really concerned,” Sen. John Thune from South Dakota, the number two Senate Republican, told the news outlet.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) added that it is “a little scary that there would be that much support for an avowed socialist.”
“It splits the Democratic voters, the people who don’t like President Trump very much but when presented with that option might say, ‘Well I’m not going to vote for a socialist. I’ll vote for President Trump rather than do that,'” Cornyn told the Hill.