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Bernie's litmus test should have Sen. Donnelly shaking in his boots

Ellie Hockenbury - August 8, 2017

After dealing with the ongoing fallout from their “self-inflicted abortion drama,” the Left is creating yet another litmus test for Democrat candidates to contend with going into 2018.

In addition to Elizabeth Warren calling for Democrats to run on single-payer health care in 2018, Bernie Sanders and his militant followers now have a message for Democrats and Senator Joe Donnelly: Get behind single-payer health care or we’re going to primary you. Here’s what the head of Bernie Sanders’ outside group Our Revolution has to say:

"Any Democrat worth their salt that doesn't unequivocally say Medicare-for-all is the way to go? To me, there's something wrong with them," said former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, the president of Our Revolution. "We're not going to accept no more hemming and hawing. No more game playing. Make your stand."

The Democrat establishment is so worried about the politics of a single-payer litmus test that Harry Reid himself called Bernie Sanders to beg him not to use the issue against the party favorite running in the Nevada Senate race. That’s because the vast majority of Americans don’t want a massive tax increase on the middle class, rationing and long wait times, draconian pay cuts for doctors, more government involvement in healthcare, or the inability to keep the doctors and plans that they’re already satisfied with.

Will Senator Donnelly stand up to Bernie’s army of activists, or will he kowtow to the socialist wing of the Democrat Party to the detriment of Indiana voters?
 

Sanders 'litmus test' alarms Democrats
Politico
Gabriel Debenedetti
August 7, 2017
http://politi.co/2vg8uIo

Sanders has decided the moment is right to launch his proposal for the single-payer health insurance system which helped form the backbone of his presidential message. And Democrats who don't get behind it could find themselves on the wrong side of the most energetic wing of the party - as well as the once-and-possibly-future presidential candidate who serves as its figurehead.
...
"Our view is that within the Democratic Party, this is fast-emerging as a litmus test," said Ben Tulchin, the pollster for Sanders' White House run.

With Sanders promising to play a major role in 2018 races, that's led many party officials to worry about the prospect of his involvement in primaries that could upend the Democratic establishment's plans to win crucial House, Senate, and gubernatorial seats.

The fears are acute enough that when the Nevada chapter of Our Revolution - the political group spawned from the Sanders presidential campaign - endorsed long-shot candidate Jesse Sbaih in the state's Democratic Senate primary over party favorite Rep. Jacky Rosen, retired former Sen. Harry Reid felt the need to call Sanders directly.

Don't endorse Sbaih, and don't let the national Our Revolution group accept its Nevada chapter's recommendation to back him either, the former minority leader implored his friend. Sanders agreed, said a Democrat familiar with the interaction.

"There's a concern that [Sanders allied] people will try to make a stir," said a senior Democratic aide working on a 2018 campaign. "You can't just be a liberal Democrat in a lot of these states and be elected. [So] the question is how we improve the lives of people instead of playing these political games."

Sanders allies don't find that argument convincing.

"Any Democrat worth their salt that doesn't unequivocally say Medicare-for-all is the way to go? To me, there's something wrong with them," said former Ohio state Sen. Nina Turner, the president of Our Revolution. "We're not going to accept no more hemming and hawing. No more game playing. Make your stand."

"We will be taking on the most powerful special interests in the country: Wall Street, the insurance companies, the drug companies, the corporate media, the Republican Party and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party," [Sanders] emailed supporters last Tuesday.

What's clear is that Sanders' large and politically active following has stopped Democrats from confronting him directly - including when it comes to offering alternatives to his Medicare-for-all measure. Many still remember the swift and angry January response from grassroots progressives including Sanders supporters toward Booker for a symbolic drug importation vote, and toward Sen. Elizabeth Warren for her procedural vote in favor of Ben Carson's nomination as Housing secretary.

"It represents the broader question of what the Democratic Party stands for, [so] this is a fundamental moment for Democratic senators. It's an issue that everyone is going to be watching to see how they respond," said Chuck Idelson, a senior operative for the National Nurses United union, which served as one of the most prominent backers of Sanders' campaign and has long been a needle in the side of establishment Democrats.

Like many Democrats who are closely aligned with Sanders' political operation, Idelson stopped short of primary threats. But he refused to rule out the possibility that his group might consider backing challenges of sitting Democratic lawmakers who don't back the plan.

"We should run on Medicare-for-all in the 2018 and 2020 elections," said Bay Area Congressman Ro Khanna, a Sanders backer who has encouraged primary challenges. "The Democrats that are activists are there, the Democratic voters are there, but now we just need enough of the elected officials to listen to where their constituents are."

The distrust between Sanders forces and the establishment is heightening the tension. Some Democratic senators privately bristled at the health care rallies that Sanders and others organized all across the country in January: they were shocked to be greeted by angry Sanders backers in the crowds who loudly urged them to back a single-payer plan, according to several Democratic senators and aides. There is also longstanding grumbling over his refusal to share his campaign email list with other Democrats and, more recently, over his vote against a new round of sanctions against Russia and Iran.

To read more, click here.


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