There was Bernie Sanders at a Fox News town hall, not giving an inch in a forum every Democratic presidential candidate has shunned.
His reward was a cataract of good reviews, even from some conservatives, and monster ratings. Sanders had a solid hour to reach people not favorably inclined to his worldview, at the very least demonstrating that he’s willing to show up outside his political silo.
Why hadn’t any of the other Democrats done it before? Because they lacked the verve and ideological self-confidence Sanders has, as well as the independent streak to buck the Democrat Party’s attempt to hold the line against Fox. As a message candidate, Sanders is willing to take his anywhere.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, miraculously transformed over the past few months into a relatively moderate Democratic elder stateswoman, has understandably been pushing back against the notion that she leads a socialist party defined by a few radicals in the House.
On 60 Minutes, she stalwartly declared: “I do reject socialism as a economic system. If people have that view, that’s their view. That is not the view of the Democratic Party.” She dismissed the left-wing members in her caucus as, “like, five people.”
In a speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer expressed the same sentiment, telling the crowd that there are 62 Democratic freshmen, “not three.”
In sheer numbers, this is true. But it’s the wrong way to count.