In the nasty, ferocious, astonishingly unpleasant Democratic debate, no one thought to ask the contenders if they viewed any of their rivals as outside the Democratic mainstream. Obviously, Bernie Sanders, self-proclaimed “democratic socialist,” is far removed from the traditions and values of the party he now seeks to lead. In fact, the Vermont Independent and former member of the Socialist Workers Party has never identified himself as a Democrat. If his brand of left-wing extremism takes over one of our two great political parties, it will be a disaster for that organization and for the country. The discredited ideas of socialism do not deserve support from a venerable political institution that still represents tens of millions of Americans.
Another means of asking the necessary question of squabbling Democrats would be: “Is there anyone on this stage who you would consider as a vice presidential running mate if you won the nomination? And is there anyone on this stage you would never consider? And, if so, why not?”
If the Democrats are so far gone in their leftward journey that they can’t rule out a democratic socialist as their candidate for either president or vice president, then the party and its candidates have disqualified themselves from serious consideration for national leadership.