During the Obama years, Republicans were often divided in how to respond.
Now, during the Trump era, Democrats find themselves in a similar spot.
When that base convened for Netroots Nation last summer, progressives insisted the solution to Democrats’ ailing appeal in the Rust Belt was to tack even further Left. “I got 220,000 votes from people who also voted for Donald Trump,” failed Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander told the crowd. “I did not do that by pretending to be a conservative Democrat.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., dramatically promised the party “won’t move back” to the center. “We are looking ahead and we will not, we shall not, we must not, allow anyone to turn back the clock,” said Warren.
Tell that to Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., or Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., or Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., or Sen. Heidi Heitkemp, D-N.D., each of whom is a facing a tough re-election battle in a state Trump won last cycle, and each of whom voted against the shutdown on Friday, then voted to reopen the government on Monday. For good reason, the GOP believes the more it’s able to tie the Donnellys and McCaskills of Congress to firebrands like Warren, the less appealing they will be to voters in their home states. For their part, Donnelly and McCaskill seem to agree.
On the flip side, facing a competitive primary challenger from her Left, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California last month reversed course to vote against a stopgap spending bill and shut down the government just before Christmas. Is there a world where Feinstein and McCaskill both survive in the party?
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