(Host) Congressman Bernie Sanders says he plans to get directly involved in efforts to ensure that Progressives and liberal Democrats don’t challenge each other in next year’s legislative and statewide races. Speaking last night on VPR’s “Switchboard” program, Sanders said it’s clear that Republican candidates will always benefit when Democrats and Progressives run against each other.
Sanders said the race for lieutenant governor in Vermont in 2002 is a good example of this problem. In a three-way race, Republican Brian Dubie was elected with just over forty percent of the vote, over Democrat Peter Shumlin and Progressive Anthony Pollina:
(Sanders) “Clearly one of the things we do not want to do in a state that has three political parties. I think progressive minded people have to be smart enough so that we can figure out a way not to divide up the progressive type vote to elect right wingers. And I think work has got to be done, which I intend to play a role in, sitting down with progressive Democrats and members of the Progressive Party to make certain that in this instance people will support the Democrat and in that instance they will support the Progressive. But the end result is that we can win elections in the Legislature and for national seats as well.”
(Host) Sanders says he plans to hold a number of meetings throughout the state to discuss this approach to the 2004 elections.