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A top House Democrat is looking ahead with foreboding if Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont becomes this fall’s Democratic presidential nominee.
During an appearance Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina offered a gloom-and-doom assessment of Democrats’ chances to hold on to their House majority with Sanders at the top of the ticket.
“But you’re already starting to see these — these attacks for his background as a Democratic socialist — socialist,” host George Stephanopoulos said to Clyburn, who holds the powerful House majority whip position.
“How deep will that cut in South Carolina? And, if he’s the nominee, do you think it could put the House majority in danger?” Stephanopoulos asked.
“A lot of people think so,” Clyburn replied.
“I do believe it will be an extra burden for us to have to carry. This is South Carolina, and South Carolinians are pretty leery about that title ‘socialist,’” he said. “And so I think that that would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in.”
Clyburn said Democrats have had success making inroads in moderate areas, which may not be where Democrats run well with Sanders at the top of the ticket.
“If you look at how well we did the last time, and look at the congressional districts, these were not liberal or what you might call progressive districts. These were basically moderate and conservative districts that we did well in,” he said.
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“And in those districts, it’s going to be tough to hold onto these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed democratic socialist,” Clyburn said.
“On Super Tuesday, people are concerned about this whole self-proclaimed democratic socialist,” he said, according to CNN. “We are trying to rebuild our party in South Carolina. We are trying to elect more people to Congress.”
Twitter users also said a socialist at the top of the ticket could be trouble for Democrats.
What will all those Freshman Democrats who won in Trump Districts, voted for impeachment and campaigned as “moderates” do with a #Socialist on the top of their ticket in November?
— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) February 23, 2020
— David Benjamin (@thetoyman1) February 23, 2020
If you’re a #Socialist, I don’t want you to be my president.
— jimmy williams (@Jimmyspolitics) February 21, 2020
Earlier this month, Democratic Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina said the “socialist” label is an albatross.
“South Carolinians don’t want socialism,” Cunningham said, according to the Post and Courier.
“We want to know how you are going to get things done and how you are going to pay for them. Bernie’s proposals to raise taxes on almost everyone is not something the Lowcountry wants and not something I’d ever support,” he said.
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