Endangered Democrats sound the alarm on Bernie and Warren

Source: Politico | January 11, 2020 | Ally Mutnick and Sarah Ferris

Vulnerable House members are rallying behind Joe Biden, looking to head off a liberal nominee they fear would cost them reelection, sources told POLITICO.

A slate of endangered House Democrats is coalescing behind Joe Biden for president as the Iowa caucuses approach — a surge of support triggered by fears that Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren at the top of the ticket would cost them their seats.

More than a dozen swing-seat freshmen have taken part in at least one private call session with Biden, Amy Klobuchar or Pete Buttigieg in recent weeks. A handful have already gravitated toward the former vice president, and more are expected to follow before Democrats start voting on Feb. 3, according to interviews with 15 lawmakers, aides and campaign strategists.

Others are still hearing out Klobuchar — who held her own call with a dozen members on Monday night — and Buttigieg. Both candidates are pitching themselves as middle-of-the-road Democrats who can stem the leftward surge of the party.

“I’m looking at all the moderates in the race,” said Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), who holds a GOP-leaning district in upstate New York. “If we’re going to campaign on issues like Medicare for All and free college for everybody, we’re not going to have a winning message in 2020.”

House Democrats in battleground districts are anxious for a moderate to lead the ballot in 2020, warning that a self-described socialist like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or liberal icon like Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) could hurt their own chances in the fall — and help reelect President Donald Trump. Most won over independents and moderate Republicans to flip long-held GOP districts in 2018.

Some say a more liberal nominee threatens to shatter their electoral coalitions, and they have the data in their districts to prove it. A number of Democratic centrists — some of whom hold seats Trump carried by sizable margins — have studied internal polling showing Biden outperforming other Democratic contenders in head-to-heads with Trump in their respective districts.


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