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Bernie Sanders' Rise Mirrors Democrats' Shift to Left

Bernie Sanders' Rise Mirrors Democrats' Shift to Left
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By    |   Tuesday, 07 July 2015 11:06 AM

The presidential campaign of self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is exposing a fissure in the Democratic Party and offering Republicans an opportunity to capitalize on it, according to Politico.

Sanders, according to the website, has established himself as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s "de facto challenger and a standard-bearer of a party that was, until this year, too far to the right for his liking."

Since May, Sanders has skyrocketed in the polls. Clinton that month enjoyed a runaway advantage, recording 60 percent support to Sanders’ 15 percent, according to The New York Times, citing a Quinnipiac University poll. But by last week, Sanders had climbed to 33 percent and Clinton had fallen to 52 percent.

And The Hill reports that a Quinnipiac poll released last week found Sanders had "doubled his share of Democratic supporters in Iowa in just seven weeks. Some polls in New Hampshire show Sanders less than 10 points behind Clinton."

He is coming to the fore during a time when liberalism is surging among party loyalists. Politico reports that a recent Gallup poll found that the percentage of Democrats who identify as socially and economically liberal is up 17 points since 2001.

In 2000, 29 percent of Democrats identified as liberal, compared with 44 percent today, according to a January story in The Washington Post citing the results of a Gallup poll.

Since 2005, the poll showed that the number of conservative Democrats dropped by 2 percentage points while the number of liberal Democrats climbed 10 points, to 44 percent, according to the Post, noting that "it's pretty clear that some Democrats who used to avoid the term are warming to it."

The popularity of "progressive icon" Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is further evidence of America’s growing penchant for liberalism, according to Politico, and has steered the Democratic Party to the left on social issues.

Sanders told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday that ordinary Americans are responding to his willingness to "take on the establishment," which includes Clinton, The Guardian reported.

"It’s very clear to say that Secretary [Clinton] is the candidate of most of the members of Congress, is the candidate of the Democratic establishment," Sanders said.

Democratic strategists are concerned that Sanders’ extremist positions will be fodder for Republicans to paint the party as "radical and out of touch," Politico reports.

"We can’t lose the presidency," said Joe Trippi, who ran Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. "We can’t take a risk by nominating somebody outside the comfort zone."

Sanders’ far-left views are "driving the inevitable-ness" of Clinton being the nominee, he added.

Left-wing labor economist Robert Reich told Politico that Democrats should not expect Sanders to "tone it down for the long-term good of his newly adopted party."

"Bernie is saying what he believes. He’s unlikely to run for president again, and this is his shot … This is as unfiltered and as clear as it comes," Reich said.

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The presidential campaign of self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders is exposing a fissure in the Democratic Party and offering Republicans an opportunity to capitalize on it, according to Politico.
bernie sanders, democrats, clinton, left, liberal
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2015-06-07
Tuesday, 07 July 2015 11:06 AM
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