Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has issued a statement clarifying his previous remarks and throwing his full support behind Democratic candidate Jon Ossoff in the Georgia US House runoff election.
In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Sanders said, “Let me be very clear. It is imperative that Jon Ossoff be elected congressman from Georgia’s 6th District and that Democrats take back the U.S. House. I applaud the energy and grassroots activism in Jon’s campaign. His victory would be an important step forward in fighting back against Trump’s reactionary agenda.”
There had been a great deal of controversy created when Sanders seemed to question Ossoff’s progressiveness, “If you run as a Democrat, you’re a Democrat. Some Democrats are progressive and some Democrats are not.” Sanders also said that he didn’t know if Ossoff was a progressive.
Both Sanders statements were very smart. The reality is that the last thing Jon Ossoff needs while trying to win a district that hasn’t gone Democratic since 1979 is Sanders proclaiming that he is a far left progressive. Notice that in his statement today, Sanders complimented Ossoff’s grassroots energy but never actually said that the candidate himself is progressive.
The support of Sanders and his supporters should be welcomed in the Georgia runoff. Democrats are close to flipping the seat, so this is an all hands on deck moment for the left. Bernie Sanders is an Independent, but he is also a member of the Senate Democratic leadership, and he wants to see Democrats win back Congress.
The Democratic Party needs to be big enough for all sorts of views. Democrats will make a big mistake if they ever become a party of the far left and further left. There is room for candidates like Jon Ossoff and a Rob Quist in the Democratic Party.
It doesn’t matter if Ossoff meets a progressive litmus test. What matters is that Democrats win the runoff election.