CNN’s Berman Fears Dems Going Too Far Left, Liberal Guests Disagree

On Wednesday’s edition of New Day, co-host John Berman conducted a segment on the future of the Democratic Party with former press secretary for Bernie Sanders, Symone Sanders, and former Hillary Clinton campaign manager, Robby Mook. The segment was based on former FBI Director James Comey’s tweet warning Democrats not to “rush to the socialist left” in reaction to Trump. Berman asked Sanders if Comey had a point. And her response proved his concern.

 

 

Sanders responded by slandering the Republican Party and urged Democrats to move to the left:

Look, the Republican Party has gone full on, in some places, white nationalist. And so I -- I would venture to say it might be OK, if you will. It's absolutely all right for Democrats to get a little more radical in some aspects.

Contrary to Sanders’ misrepresentation, republicans have remained quite steadfast in their views while Democrats have been the one’s radicalizing according to an October 2017 Pew Research Center study. For example, the issue of government aid:

While there has been a consistent party gap since 1994 on government aid to the poor, the divisions have never been this large. In 2011, about twice as many Democrats as Republicans said the government should do more for the needy (54% vs. 25%). Today, nearly three times as many Democrats as Republicans say this (71% vs. 24%).

Berman moved on to ask Robby Mook a question. To his credit, Berman pushed him on how far is too far for the Democrats. Hoping to not insult the Democrat’s new socialist rock stars, Mook danced around the question and gave a meaningless non-answer:

You know, Democratic voters do not go around all day saying, gosh, are we a liberal party or are we a more conservative party? They are looking for candidates who can tell a story, a story about where we've been, where we are and where we're going to go. And they are looking for change. They are looking for fundamental change.

Pivoting back to Sanders, Berman asked her about the success of socialist New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and if that served as an indication of the future of the party. Sanders responded:

And when people are out there in their districts, John, they are talking about health care. They are talking about the economy. They are talking about the fact that the Republican Party is putting -- and it's putting -- is just OK with putting kids in cages. And those are things that are resonating with voters across the spectrum. And so I think there's a conversation to be had about what -- what type -- like, who is it that we want to be? And I think Democrats have been very clear that we want to be the party that gets things done. We want to be the party that keeps health care for millions of people in this country. And, Republicans, that's just not what they're interested in. So I actually reject the idea that there's this large, ideological struggle going on inside the Democratic Party. I think there's room for the most progressive of the most progressive Democrats and even the most conservative of conservative Democrats in this big-tent party.

This segment illustrates a pattern on CNN regarding Republican vs Democrat guests. CNN is always able to find “conservatives” to come on the air and lambast Donald Trump. However, when it comes to the Democrats going too far, they find it much harder to find a liberal to agree and defend the sentiment in James Comey’s tweet.

A transcript of this segment is below:

CNN's New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman

7/25/18

8:30:02 AM – 8:35:29

JOHN BERMAN: Simone, I do want to turn now to the future and I'm asking you this and not Robby because it's about James Comey and I don't want to give him heart palpitations here, but James Comey is commenting on the Democratic Party, which is rich in and of itself. But the former FBI director says, Democrats, please, please don't lose your minds and rush to the socialist left. This president and his Republican Party are counting on you to do exactly that. America's great middle wants sensible, balanced, ethical leadership. Forget the messenger here. Forget that it's James Comey and he comes loaded, as it were, here. But that's a message we're hearing from others as well, that what we've seen over the last month is a lurch to the left among some Democrats on certain issues. Like you hear people calling for abolishing ICE. Does he have a point?

SYMONE SANDERS: It's hard for me to forget that this message comes from James Comey, John. What I'll -- what I'll say is this. Look, the Republican Party has gone full on, in some places, white nationalist. And so I -- I would venture to say it might be OK, if you will. It's absolutely all right for Democrats to get a little more radical in some aspects. I remember -- I'm old enough to remember when Medicare for all was a radical concept, that everyone said was too far left and that would tear down the fabric of health care as we know it. And now we've got very -- Democrats from all over the spectrum talking about a universal health care, what does -- what could Medicare for all look like? And so I think it is absolutely OK for Democrats to be -- across the spectrum to be exploring all different types of issues. We are, in fact, the big tent party, John.

BERMAN: How far is too far, though, Robby, because, you know, I've had conversations with Democratic activists over the years where what they feel like they want to do is triangulate, sit in the middle, try to find that common ground. Conservative Democrats. How far do you think is too far?

ROBBY MOOK: Well, first of all, that's up for primary voters to decide. You know, I think sometimes we forget that in these House races and in the, you know, the next presidential election, the whole reason we have primaries, it's so the voters can make a decision about who the best candidate is. And I will say, and I don't mean to take a cheap shot at James Comey, but I think his political punditry is just about as bad in this instance as it was in 2016 when, you know, he claims he sent that letter because he thought Hillary Clinton, you know, was going to win and that it would be OK. This is not about ideology. You know, Democratic voters do not go around all day saying, gosh, are we a liberal party or are we a more conservative party? They are looking for candidates who can tell a story, a story about where we've been, where we are and where we're going to go. And they are looking for change. They are looking for fundamental change. And so I think whether it's the candidates that we've seen win in these primaries so far, or if we're talking about 2020, the voters are looking for someone who can embody and speak to and articulate that change. And so I think this argument about do we go this far left or that far left, I honestly don't think it's relevant. And I think it's more about somebody's ability to represent and articulate where we need to go.

BERMAN: Well, look, it is playing out before us. We have seen evidence of this debate actually taking place. And, yes, it's happening in specific races between specific candidates, but there is a genuine issue about positioning the party going forward, Symone. And you look at what happened here in New York City, and everyone's talking about Alexandria Cortez and perhaps too much has been made of that. But she ran to the left of a pretty liberal Democrat and now she's campaigning around the country for pretty liberal or progressive Democrats saying things that make some Democrats uncomfortable. Do you not think that there is a genuine discussion about the direction and the positioning of the party, Symone?

SANDERS: Look, but -- so, John, I think what Alexandria Cortez -- what Alexandria did in New York worked for her in New York. What Claire McCaskill is going to do in Missouri is going to work for Claire McCaskill in Missouri. What Colin Allred is going in the 32nd district in Texas, in Dallas, is going to work for him. And so two -- when we talk about the midterm, we are talking very specifically about specific districts. I think there's a separate conversation to be had about a presidential campaign. But we are a little over 100 days out from midterm elections and I think that's what Democratic voters and, frankly, Democratic strategists and candidates alike are focused on. And when people are out there in their districts, John, they are talking about health care. They are talking about the economy. They are talking about the fact that the Republican Party is putting -- and it's putting -- is just OK with putting kids in cages. And those are things that are resonating with voters across the spectrum. And so I think there's a conversation to be had about what -- what type -- like, who is it that we want to be? And I think Democrats have been very clear that we want to be the party that gets things done. We want to be the party that keeps health care for millions of people in this country. And, Republicans, that's just not what they're interested in. So I actually reject the idea that there's this large, ideological struggle going on inside the Democratic Party. I think there's room for the most progressive of the most progressive Democrats and even the most conservative of conservative Democrats in this big-tent party.

BERMAN: Symone Sanders, Robby Mook coming out together against James Comey, Democratic strategist James Comey. Thanks for being with us this morning. I do appreciate it, Robby and Symone. Thank you.

NB Daily CNN New Day Symone Sanders John Berman Robby Mook Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez


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