A former adviser to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called on the Democratic Party to abandon its "left" policies and move back toward the political "center."
In a July 6 opinion piece for The New York Times, Mark Penn, who also served as a senior adviser to former President Bill Clinton, and Andrew Stein, a New York City council president, wrote that the Democrats have alienated voters with their positions.
"The path back to power for the Democratic Party today, as it was in the 1990s, is unquestionably to move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left, whose policies and ideas have weakened the party," the article begins.
They declare that the party should distance itself from "Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups [that] have embraced sharply leftist ideas," arguing instead for the "need to … adopt an agenda of renewed growth, greater protection for American workers and a return to fiscal responsibility."
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Penn and Stein contend that Democratic opposition to religion in public life had cost the Party votes, and blamed their declining following on their advocacy for sanctuary cities and transgender rights.
To rebuild, Penn and Stein argue, Democrats in Congress need to get behind infrastructure measures proposed by President Donald Trump, and should endorse a hardline on criminal justice matters.
Sections of the Democratic Party disagree with Penn and Stein's analysis and proposals.
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Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016, told CNN in June that the party's brand is "pretty bad," but not for the reasons given by Penn and Stein.
Sanders argued that Democrats must "make it clear to working people of this country that the Democratic Party is on their side."
"The Democrats need a progressive agenda," he added. "They need to rebuild the party in states they have ignored for decades, where they have almost no presence right now, and create a 50-state party."
To achieve this, according to Sanders, the Democrats must do some "internal soul searching."
"Understand that for the last 10 years, the model that they have had really has not worked," Sanders told CNN. "It doesn't work when you lose the U.S. Senate, U.S. House, the White House, when almost two-thirds of governors chairs are controlled by Republicans, when Democrats have lost a thousand seats and legislatures all over the country."