Though nobody with a platform as sizeable as his has been more critical of the so-called "establishment" of the Democratic Party, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Friday that the agenda of the Trump administration will be effectively toast if congressional Republicans are toppled in the upcoming midterm elections.
"If Democrats control either the House or the Senate, Trump's agenda is dead," Sanders told the New York Times in an interview.
Appearing to offer fresh criticism of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), in charge of coordinating and allocating resources to campaigning party members, Sanders told the Times there's still "a tendency to believe that more conservative candidates are better positioned to win," even as large planks contained in his progressive agenda—like Medicare for All, fighting for a much higher minimum wage, defending labor unions and works, and fighting for far-reaching action on the climate crisis—have shown to be resonating much more with voters across the country.
Though Sanders himself proved to be a small-donation juggernaut, and showed how Democrats who stand on principle can raise huge sums of cash from inspired voters, he said it appears that the DCCC and the party are still looking for candidates wealthy or connected enough to "self-fund" their campaigns.
While Sanders said he does plan to endorse candidates in some Democratic primaries, the Times reports he is "still deciding where he can be most effective."
During public remarks earlier this month, Sanders drew condemnation from some party members for pointing out that "the business model" of the Democratic Party over the last decade and a half—given that it has lost about 1,000 seats in state legislatures during that time—"has been a failure."
But even the audience who heard those remarks "erupted in applause" when Sanders admitted the fact openly. As journalist Briahna Joy Gray asked about the incident, "Who could defend as successful the 'almost unprecedented' loss of legislative seats over the last ten years, or Hillary Clinton’s defeat to game-show host Donald Trump?"
With an outpouring of energy geared toward dismantling the Trump administration and his GOP enablers in Congress, the question remains: Have Democrats learned enough lessons from their steady habit of defeat to not just win big, but govern boldly?