As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) appears to be the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, more Democrats are growing worried that he will hurt other Democratic candidates’ chances on election day.
During an interview on ABC News’ “This Week,” House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) was asked if he thought the Democrats’ majority in the House would be at risk with Sanders as the nominee.
“A lot of people think so,” he said, adding, “I do believe it will be an extra burden for us to have to carry. This is South Carolina, and South Carolinians are pretty leery about that title ‘socialist.’”
“I think that that would be a real burden for us in these states — or Congressional districts — that we have to do well in,” he added.
Watch Clyburn’s interview below:
“A lot of people think so,” Rep. Jim Clyburn tells @GStephanopoulos when asked if Sanders being the nominee could put the House majority in danger.— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) February 23, 2020
“I think that that would be a real burden for us in these states,” he says, pointing to "socialist" label. https://t.co/VoyjykQqy6 pic.twitter.com/a9wovyFY7T
Clyburn noted that in 2018, the districts that Democrats flipped were areas where voters hold more moderate views and said it would be “tough to hold on to these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed democratic socialist.”
Clyburn’s comments come days before the South Carolina primary, which has long been seen as former Vice President Joe Biden’s firewall to blunt Sanders’ momentum. Clyburn is also expected to endorse Biden before his home state’s primary, which takes place on February 29.
Biden has maintained a lead in South Carolina, even after he saw disappointing performances in Iowa and New Hampshire. However, in recent days his once double-digit lead has shrunk to a single-digit lead with Sanders in second place.
It’s unclear if warnings from Clyburn and other Democrats about Sanders will make a difference to voters. In Nevada, The Culinary Union warned its members that Sanders’ policies would cost them their cherished healthcare plans.
However, results from Nevada showed Sanders racked up a decent share of votes from members of the union despite warnings from its leadership.
Even if Sanders doesn’t win South Carolina, some Democratic strategists appear worried about the possibility of him being on his way to winning the nomination.