Conservatives are cheering the ongoing love-fest between self-proclaimed Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders’ and the hard-left congressional quartet known as the squad, saying the extremist pairing will alienate voters and help re-elect President Trump.
“I am so happy to hear that he’s endorsed them and they’ve endorsed him,” said Glenn A. McCall, a Republican national committeeman in South Carolina. He said he believes moderate voters aren’t on board with big-government squad causes like Medicare for all or the Green New Deal, which demands that residents ditch fossil fuels and retrofit buildings to make them energy efficient.
“It brings a great contrast between President Trump and the free enterprise he’s promoting versus socialism and more government,” said McCall.
Sanders, a 2020 candidate who has been climbing in recent polls, endorsed nine progressive congressional candidates from across the country Wednesday. He included the high-profile members of the squad: Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; and Ayanna Pressley, D-Boston.
“They’re all strong advocates for real change,” Sanders said while announcing his support. Three of the squad members have already backed Sanders and are actively fundraising and campaigning for the Vermont senator.
“We’re all supporting Bernie for president because this campaign isn’t about him,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a recent fundraising email featuring the squad.
“It’s about us,” Omar added in the same email. Tlaib is also featured in the fundraising plea. Pressley endorsed Warren last year.
Republican consultant Chris Brown, who lives in Alabama, said the ongoing far-left partnership is also good for GOP congressional candidates looking to take back the House.
“Looking at my state, most congressional candidates are using the squad as a rallying point to turn out the base, so the more they are pushed to the forefront the more Republicans will like it.” Brown said.
Republicans are also looking to play on socialist fears in moderate districts. While 67 Democrats were elected to office in the 2018 blue wave, about one-third of those were elected in districts Trump won in 2016.
“They are further to the left than a lot of people, and that can alienate voters,” said Brown.
Sanders, however, appears to be benefiting from the alliance as he seeks to outflank Warren on the left. Ocasio-Cortez has drawn huge crowds while campaigning for Sanders in Iowa. Omar and Tlaib are also expected to campaign in Iowa for Sanders while he attends impeachment hearings until Sunday.
The full impact of the squad endorsement may not happen until the general election, said Chip Felkel, a South Carolina political consultant.
“Theres a whole segment of Democratic Party that needs to decide whether they want to win or whether they want to be ideologically pure — and politics isn’t that pure,” Felkel said. “They seem to want to alienate a whole segment of people, and that could cost them the election.”
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