During a private fundraiser, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) asked Bernie Sanders supporters to join her re-election campaign in 2018.
“All of you who are Bernie supporters … I need you. I want you. I want to talk to you. I want you to be part of our effort,” McCaskill said. “We can’t get divided in a state like Missouri or we’re cooked.” McCaskill has previously voiced concern she is worried about facing a Democratic Primary challenger from the progressive wing of the party, though no candidate has yet emerged to challenge her.
“I’m a little worried about a primary against me because I think the Republicans would want to return the favor,” she said. “I think the Republicans might give a lot of money to one of my primary opponents doing a similar thing to what I did for Todd Akin,” in reference to ads McCaskill ran in favor of Todd Akin, the most extreme conservative candidate, during the 2012 GOP Primary.
McCaskill has received criticism from Sanders Supporters for her centrist stances, such as recently claiming Democrats blocking Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch would put the Supreme Court in “jeopardy.” McCaskill also voted in favor of most of Trump cabinet nominees.
During the 2016 Democratic Primaries, McCaskill served as a surrogate for the Clinton Campaign, having endorsed her for President in 2013, two years before Clinton formally announced her campaign. In June 2015, she complained the media was giving him a free pass because ““I think Bernie is too liberal to gather enough votes in this country to become president.”
In Missouri, Hillary Clinton pulled off a marginal victory against Sanders in the Democratic Primary, winning 50-49%, by just over 1,500 votes. Nearly 80 percent of voters 18-29 years-old and over 60 percent ages 30 to 44 voted forSanders, according to Exit poll data. One of the reasons McCaskill may be so worried about facing a Democratic Primary challenger is given how unpopular the Democratic Party is, especially in comparison to Bernie Sanders, a viable challenger could hand McCaskill a defeat.
The Democratic Party is facing an increasing rise in support for Bernie Sanders and progressive policies as an alternative to Trump and the Republican Party, who have successfully decimated Democrats in elected offices across the country. The demise of Democrats is due in part to their lack of meaningful policy stances and their shift to the “pragmatic” center.
Former Vice President Joe Biden recently acknowledged the party’s ongoing failure in a speech at the University of Pennsylvania. “This is the first campaign that I can recall where my party did not talk about what it always stood for, and that is how to maintain a burgeoning middle class,” he said. Instead of talking about the issues facing working, middle class, and low income Americans, Democrats are still obsessed with scapegoats for why Hillary Clinton lost. Russia, fake news, Bernie Sanders, third party voters, and various other excuses are still more frequently cited and discussed over real issues.
Senator McCaskill knows this, but instead of appealing to progressives and Sanders Supporters by taking meaningful policy stances, she is insisting on party unity while continuing to cower to the establishment center.