Society

Sanders: 'The Democratic Brand Is Pretty Bad'

| by Robert Fowler

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has deemed the Democratic Party's brand to be toxic in large swaths of the country.

Sanders was agreeing with a sentiment expressed by Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

On June 22, Ryan offered his take on why Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff had lost an election for Georgia's 6th congressional district seat. In the Ohio lawmaker's view, the issue was the party and not the candidate.

"The brand is just bad," Ryan told CNN. "I don't think people in the beltway are realizing just how toxic the Democratic Party brand is in so many parts of the country."

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On June 23, Sanders was asked in an interview if he agreed with Ryan's critique of the Democratic Party.

"I speak as the longest serving independent in American congressional history, the Democratic brand is pretty bad," Sanders responded. "I think the Trump brand is also pretty bad as is the Republican brand. That's why so many people are giving up on politics."

While Sanders noted that Democratic candidates had performed better in the 2017 special elections than they had in previous races, he warned that the party would need to adopt a new approach to retake the House in the 2018 midterms.

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"Understand that for the last 10 years, the model that they have had really has not worked," Sanders continued. "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."

The Vermont senator concluded that Democrats should "rebuild the party in states they have ignored for decades, where they have almost no presence right now and create a 50-state party."

Sanders had mounted a presidential bid as a Democrat in 2016, but reverted back to his independent affiliation after losing the nomination to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Following Ossoff's loss in Georgia, several Democratic lawmakers and operatives have been vocally criticizing their party leadership and messaging.

"I think voters still don’t totally trust Democrats," Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state told The Atlantic. "I think they don’t know necessarily what Democrats stand for, and how they differentiate from Republicans."

Ryan has been the most vocal Democrat to criticize his own party's image.

"The national brand is toxic," Ryan concluded. "There's just no doubt about it. We are not connecting with people the way we need to connect with them."

Sources: The Atlantic, CNN (2) / Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/FlickrOffice of Rep. Tim Ryan/Wikipedia, Gage Skidmore/Flickr