Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a self-avowed socialist, is a frontrunner in the Democratic presidential primary, and could be the clear Democratic frontrunner after Super Tuesday on March 3. That has Democrats running in swing districts feeling nervous, including in Minnesota.
Speaking of Sanders, Minnesota Democrat Congressman Dean Phillips told CNN’s Manu Raju that “There are probably 25-30 [House] seats that absolutely would be impacted directly by having a self-avowed socialist at the top of the ticket.”
Aside from Dean Phillips, Angie Craig and Collin Peterson are also incumbent Democratic Congresspersons in swing districts.
Yet as Democrats worry about running when Bernie is at the top of the ticket, many face pressure from activists close to home, and are stuck with the seemingly impossible task of appeasing their leftwing base, while still trying to appeal to independents and moderates. Already, Collin Peterson has a primary challenger from the left, even as he gears up for a tough challenge come November 2020.
There’s also a broader and related story where establishment Democrats in D.C. have almost uniformly lurched to the left—in spite of Bernie Sanders. On a host of issues, including late-term abortion, open borders, greater government control of healthcare even after Obamacare remains to be law, the “green new deal,” and taxes and spending, the mainstream Democratic Party is much more leftwing than it was several decades ago.
That may make swing-district Democrats’ electoral prospects more difficult if they can no longer win by simply positioning themselves as a check on the President.