NBC Fears ‘Recipe for Disaster’ With ‘Moderate’ Dems Divided

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While speculating on how the upcoming New Hampshire primary could shape the 2020 Democratic race, on Tuesday, NBC’s Today show feared that socialist Senator Bernie Sanders could surge, with the supposed “moderate” candidates in the field splitting the vote. The broadcast warned that could be “a recipe potentially for disaster” in the general election.

During a panel discussion in the 7:30 a.m. ET half hour, NBC News political analyst and former Democratic Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill hoped: “And if the candidates that are not for free college and Medicare for all begin to coalesce, then I think you’re going to see some really close contests down the line.”

 

 

Co-host Savannah Guthrie proclaimed: “Yeah, because there does seem to be a progressive lane, and you’d put Sanders and Warren in that lane. And then the rest of them are moderates or centrists or whatever they want to call themselves, the sort of not Sanders and Warren lane.”

Minutes later, Washington correspondent Andrea Mitchell used similar labels for the rest of Democratic field as she sounded the alarm:

And the problem is going to be that the other candidates, the moderate – let’s say moderate candidates, are going to coalesce eventually. It’s going to come out of New Hampshire with way too many candidates, but it’s going to eventually come to be, I think, Bernie versus the others. And then the Bernie people are going to be passionate, they are passionate, he had a huge crowd here last night. And then you’re going to have a divided Democratic Party and it’s a recipe potentially for disaster against Donald Trump with a brokered convention or Bernie having a plurality and not the number of delegates he needs and the other candidates organizing against him.

Over on ABC’s Good Morning America, White House correspondent Jon Karl also echoed Democratic Party anxiety about the primary process:

Look, Bernie Sanders comes into this the leading candidate in New Hampshire. If he wins here, he is the clear frontrunner for the Democratic nomination. But George, that has a lot of Democrats, establishment Democrats, moderate Democrats, in a state of panic.

Earlier on the Today show, an interview was aired of Guthrie talking to one of those alleged “moderate Democrats,” former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg. She worried: “When you look at someone like Bernie Sanders, who has a history, who has identified himself as a democratic socialist, is this someone that you think can win?”

Buttigieg replied: “I think would be very difficult. And it’s not just because of the labels. It’s because of the approach....there is a $25 trillion hole in how to pay for everything that he’s put forward.”

Rather than grill Buttigieg on some of his own radical views on abortion or packing the Supreme Court, Guthrie instead pressed from the left: “I notice you talked about the deficit the other day in one of your rallies and you know the progressive left in the Democratic Party talking about deficits is not in fashion....So you really stuck your neck out there.”

Bernie Sanders is so extreme that the media are working to paint the rest of the left-wing Democratic field as “moderate” by comparison. Regardless of the labels, the coverage smacks of desperation.

Here are excerpts of the February 11 reporting on NBC’s Today show:

7:11 AM ET

(...)

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: When you look at someone like Bernie Sanders, who has a history, who has identified himself as a democratic socialist, is this someone that you think can win?

PETE BUTTIGIEG: I think would be very difficult. And it’s not just because of the labels. It’s because of the approach. When you look at what he’s proposing in terms of the budget, all of the things he’s put forward and how to pay for them, there is a $25 trillion hole in how to pay for everything that he’s put forward.

GUTHRIE: What do you say to Bernie Sanders when he says you’re in the pocket of billionaires?

BUTTIGIEG: He’s just wrong. At the end of the day we have to make sure that we are inviting everybody we can to help defeat Donald Trump.

GUTHRIE: I notice you talked about the deficit the other day in one of your rallies and you know the progressive left in the Democratic Party talking about deficits is not in fashion. They think that the Republicans have essentially co-opted these policy debates. So you really stuck your neck out there. Is that something you plan to continue to do, is deficits? Is the deficit something that’s of major concern to you?

BUTTIGIEG: Yeah, I think we have to take that back. Look, the truth is, if you look through my lifetime, it’s actually only been Democratic presidents who’ve done something about the deficit. But my party’s been a little allergic to talking about it or focusing on it. But here you have Donald Trump creating a trillion dollar deficit and doing it mostly to finance tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. The bigger that gets, the harder it will be to fund the programs that we believe in.

(...)

7:35 AM ET

(...)

FMR. SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL [D-MO]: But what we have in this race is something that’s much more wide open than we’ve seen in a long time in a Democratic primary. It will not be over after tonight. A lot of voters still have to weigh in. And if the candidates that are not for free college and Medicare for all begin to coalesce, then I think you’re going to see some really close contests down the line.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Yeah, because there does seem to be a progressive lane, and you’d put Sanders and Warren in that lane. And then the rest of them are moderates or centrists or whatever they want to call themselves, the sort of not Sanders and Warren lane.

(...)

ANDREA MITCHELL: And the problem is going to be that the other candidates, the moderate –  let’s say moderate candidates, are going to coalesce eventually. It’s going to come out of New Hampshire with way too many candidates, but it’s going to eventually come to be, I think, Bernie versus the others. And then the Bernie people are going to be passionate, they are passionate, he had a huge crowd here last night. And then you’re going to have a divided Democratic Party and it’s a recipe potentially for disaster against Donald Trump with a brokered convention or Bernie having a plurality and not the number of delegates he needs and the other candidates organizing against him.

GUTHRIE: Well meanwhile, just to put a fine point on it, you had President Trump here last night with 11 - 12,000 people packing a stadium, which really is a reality check for what Democrats are facing.

(...)

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Liberals & Democrats NBC Today Video Savannah Guthrie Andrea Mitchell Bernie Sanders Pete Buttigieg

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