WASHINGTON -- The Democratic Party’s model is “failing,” and if voter turnout doesn’t grow “there is no future forward for the Democratic Party,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont.
“Well, I think what is clear to anyone who looks at where the Democratic Party today is that the model of the Democratic Party is failing,” Sanders said Sunday on CBS News’ “Face the Nation.” “We have a Republican president who ran as a candidate as the most unpopular candidate in the modern history of this country. Republicans control the House, the Senate, two thirds of governors’ chairs.”
“And in the last eight years, they have picked up 900 legislative seats,” Sanders continued. “Clearly the Democratic Party has got to change. And in my view what it has got to become is a grassroots party. A party which makes decisions from the bottom on up. A party which is more dependent on small donations than large donations. A party... that speaks to the pain of the working class in this country.”
Sanders, who ran against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, is on a “unity” tour across the country with Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez to reinvigorate the Democratic base. The Vermont senator said the party must “take the lead” on issues that matter to the working class to increase voter turnout and “regain control of the United States Congress.”
Sanders avoided answering whether he would hand over his email list of grassroots voters to the Democratic Party, saying only that the focus now is “building up a strong progressive movement in this country.”
If Democrats don’t increase voter turnout, their future will be grim, he said.
“Here’s I think what the major issue is as we go into the 2018 elections dealing with the most unpopular president after a three-month period in American history,” Sanders said. “In 2014 we had a voter turnout of 36 percent in the midterm elections. Almost two out of three Americans didn’t vote. And Republicans did very, very well. If that continues, there is no future forward for the Democratic Party.”
“So what we have got to do and what Democrats have got to do is go all over this country, start getting into those red states which have been ignored for decades, start growing the voter turnout,” Sanders said. “Having an agenda which brings people together to say that, ‘In the richest country in the history of the world, yeah. You know what? We can have health care for all people as a right. We can raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. No, Donald Trump is not right. Climate change is not a hoax. It is a major planetary crisis.’”