Establishment Democrats are trying to harness Vermont senator Bernie Sanders’s popularity with the liberal grassroots to raise money.
Sanders, who has emerged as Hillary Clinton’s closest rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, signed a direct-mail letter sent out by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee this week. “As you know, I’ve been traveling around the country to discuss the serious problems we’re facing and what we must do as a nation to resolve them,” the three-page fundraising letter says. “But the Republicans in Washington are blind to what’s happening. Or worse — they see it but they just don’t care. They’d much rather give tax breaks and special favors to their billionaire friends than help ordinary Americans live decent, healthy lives.” (Emphasis original.)
The letter notes that Senate Republicans have several vulnerable members up for reelection in 2016 and must defend 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10. It spotlights Nevada — where Democrats hope to hold the seat vacated by retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid — and Wisconsin and Illinois, which are seen as two of the party’s best chances to pick off a GOP incumbent.
“The 2016 electorate skews Democratic,” the letter continues. “Since there will be a strong Democratic candidate at the top of the ticket, Democratic voters will turn out in higher numbers.”
Sanders’s motives for signing the fundraising plea may not be entirely altruistic. If the DSCC gives the progressive gadfly the names of the people who donate in response to the letter, as is common, it would help him compete with Clinton by boosting his campaign’s own fundraising ability.
— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review.