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Bernie Sanders Is Flirting With a 'Big Mistake'

He's disrespecting voters outside his base, writes David Leonhardt
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 24, 2020 1:05 PM CST

(Newser) – Bernie Sanders is on a roll, and the Democratic nomination might be his to lose at this point, writes Rick Klein at ABC News. But if Sanders hopes to win the White House, he better fix what David Leonhardt of the New York Times sees as a "big mistake." In his opinion piece, Leonhardt argues that Sanders is not reaching out to voters beyond his passionate base. The last four men to enter the White House—Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump—did not make that same mistake. "Even Trump, radical as he is, flouted Republican orthodoxy by sounding like a populist Democrat on Social Security, Medicare and trade," writes Leonhardt. In fact, candidate Trump was seen by voters as a relatively moderate nominee for a Republican.

Not Sanders, though. "To put it another way: Can you think of one way that Bernie Sanders is signaling respect to voters outside of his base?" asks Leonhardt. Sanders is taking a "maximist liberal" position on every big issue, even though as a senator he showed willingness to compromise, as on guns. In this campaign, there seems to be a "moral litmus test" at play among progressives: Embrace our positions fully or you're dead to us. Leonhardt gets it, "but turning every compromise into an existential moral failing is not a smart way to practice politics," he writes. If Sanders doesn't start resolving this, and perhaps budging on positions such as fracking in all-important Pennsylvania, he might be in trouble come November. (Read Leonhardt's full column.)

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