Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told Politico that Republicans "stand an excellent chance of gaining control of the House and quite possibly the Senate."
Sanders warned Democrats that they’ll need more than criticizing the GOP's stances on abortion and guns to avoid a red wave in November’s midterms.
"[Democrats who] think that they’re gonna march to victory based on those issues, I think that that is not correct," Sanders told Politico.
"You really can’t win an election with a bumper sticker that says: Well, we can't do much, but the other side is worse."
Sanders suggested that Democrats take a page out of former House Speaker New Gingrich’s playbook and develop a progressive version of the "Contract with America."
"Say to the American people: Look, we don’t have the votes to do it right now. We have two corporate Democrats who are not going to be with us," Sanders, referring to moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., told Politico.
"The leadership has got to go out and say, We don’t have the votes to pass anything significant right now. Sorry. You got 48 votes. And we need more to pass it. That should be the message of this campaign."
Manchin in December said he would not back President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion "Build Back Better" social spending and climate legislation. Manchin and Sinema also refused to support efforts to weaken the Senate filibuster.
"Two corporate Democrats, Sen. Manchin and Sen. Sinema, sabotaged [Build Back Better]. And it has been downhill ever since for the Democratic Party," Sanders said, Politico reported.
Politico said Manchin released a statement saying, "I have never berated Sen. Sanders for his socialist views. It is a shame he refuses to accept the more moderate views I share with my constituents."
Manchin and Senate Majority Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., met Wednesday about a smaller party-line climate-and-tax-reform bill that could pass before the election, Politico reported.
Sanders, though, wasn’t optimistic that a deal will happen.
"[Schumer and Manchin] have been negotiating for nine months," Sanders said. "This is not exactly terribly effective negotiation. And during those nine months, support for Democrats has dissipated very rapidly."
Sanders also told Politico that President Joe Biden needs to do more to energize Democrat initiatives, and suggested the president say, "I want to raise the minimum wage, I want to deal with Medicare, I want to deal with housing, I want to deal with climate, I can’t do it. I need more votes."
Sanders added that he hoped Biden would do as much as he can through executive action on those issues.
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