Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) reminded Democrats on Tuesday that the party would be united behind the eventual nominee, even if that nominee happens to be a socialist.
In a joint press conference with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Schumer rebuffed questions over whether the party will fracture if Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), a “Democratic socialist” is named the party’s presidential nominee, leaving some Democrats — including, perhaps, Schumer — out in the cold.
Schumer was adamant that the party would be “strongly united” behind a nominee and “focused like a laser” on defeating President Donald Trump.
“Primaries are primaries and there’re always lots of sturm and drang,” Schumer insisted. “You will see in a few months Democrats will be strongly united together, and we will be focused like a laser on beating Donald Trump. The enthusiasm that you last saw in 2008 to elect Barack Obama, you will see among Democrats this summer and fall to get Donald Trump out of office.”
Schumer seems to be referring directly to claims that fewer Democratic voters are turning out to cast ballots in the primaries. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, fewer ballots were cast for the leader, Sanders, than were cast in 2016, leaving some Democrats questioning whether there really is motivation among the anti-Trump “resistance” to see him booted from the White House.
Many Democrats are also questioning — rightfully — whether the part can actually unite, regardless of who ends up as the nominee. If Bernie Sanders takes the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, moderates may stay home or vote for President Donald Trump. If Sanders does not, it’s not clear that his supporters will jump the chasm to back a more moderate Dem nominee, particularly if they feel they were iced out of the process — a common complaint among Sanders’ supporters.
Even the left-leaning network, MSNBC, has recently come under fire from progressives for being “antagonistic” towards the Vermont socialist, according to Fox News. Anchor Chris Matthews was so incensed at the rhetoric towards MSNBC from Sanders’ supporters online that he referred to them as a “digital brown shirt brigade” in a segment that aired last week.
In other words, Schumer seems to be looking on the bright side of a dismal set of numbers for Democrats. But he may have to: according to The Intercept, Schumer is among progressives’ top targets on their way to a majority in the Senate, and Schumer has to believe that there’s no battle for control among factions. The outlet also notes that Schumer has been having difficulty recruiting candidates to run in contested races.
The good news for Schumer, though, is that the primaries are still far from over. Sanders’ streak will likely come to a halt in either Nevada or South Carolina, and he’s running behind former Vice President Joe Biden in most of the Super Tuesday states. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg seems to be on the downswing, as does Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who couldn’t clear double digits in New Hampshire, despite leading the state back in November. Only Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) is gaining among the Democratic field.