Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman said in a radio interview this weekend that the Democrats need a leader who can keep the liberal wing of the party in check. Lieberman, who was always one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate – even switching to become an Independent late in his career – told radio host John Catsimatidis that Republicans and Democrats need to cooperate for the good of the country.
“Here is my fear about the future of the Democratic Party,” said Lieberman. “In a way, relatively speaking, Hillary Clinton was representative of the center-left of the Democratic Party, not the pure left.
“Now I think there will be a real attempt by ‘the left’ left of the Democratic Party to take over the party, and I don’t think that’s the way to go to make it an effective party,” he continued. “It’s certainly not the party that I got drawn to. It’s not the party that I worked so hard for when Bill Clinton was president and it’s not going to be a winning party.”
Lieberman is hinting at the fact that people like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have been touted as the current leaders of the Democratic Party in the wake of Hillary’s historic defeat. There is a sense among young liberals that Sanders could have beaten Trump in the general election, though there’s no real reason to believe that’s true. DNC shenanigans or not, Sanders got crushed by Hillary in the South and in any area where minorities carried a significant percentage of the electorate. Not to mention that Sanders never had to endure a Trump/GOP onslaught. His supporters are underestimating how badly the word “socialism” plays in middle America.
At the same time, though, Lieberman is downplaying Clinton’s own liberal tendencies. You can’t pretend she was running on a platform similar to her husband’s. For as much as she tried to reach out to Republican voters, her agenda was even further left than Obama’s in many respects. Her position on illegal immigration, in particular, felt not only “lenient” but almost un-American. And she fully embraced the culture war, which may partly explain why she failed to scoop up the president’s white working class voters.
“To me, both parties better watch out not to go back to the extremes – left and right – and not working with each other,” Lieberman said. “I think that the public really wants both parties to get together, work together and solve some of the problems of our country, make the future better.”
To do that, Democrats will not only have to resist the insane voices from their left wing, they’ll have to stop treating Trump like he’s some kind of political demon to be vanquished.
We’ll see if they have the ability to do that.