Bernie Sanders, Fearing Weak Democratic Turnout, Plans Midterms Blitz
With Democrats in the grips of a bitter primary fight, Bernie Sanders is waging a multi-faceted national strategy aimed at wresting control of the House and Senate from Republicans.
The strategy includes a campaign of “ground game” to elect Democrats in Republican-held congressional districts, and a heavy spending campaign to elect Democrats in the “baked-in” Democratic strongholds in the southern and central parts of the country.
“We’ll be spending a ton of money,” Sanders told a large crowd in Las Vegas on Wednesday.
Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, is promising a relentless spending campaign to retake the House and Senate, in what he says will force a midterm election that puts Democrats in control.
“In the states where the population support is higher than 50 percent, which is not only the swing states in the South but also in the Midwest and other areas, we will have a ground game that will get our supporters out to the polls,” he said.
Sanders, 69, is running a nationwide campaign to take control of the House and Senate by flipping a dozen seats, from Democratic strongholds such as New Hampshire where he won the primary, to solidly red states like Arizona and Texas.
It’s a strategy that experts told CNN could be risky, with many congressional districts flipping without a major push to come.
“It’s not realistic to think Sanders can flip the House,” said Josh Bivens, a political media analyst at the University of Virginia. “He’s not a big enough candidate to have anywhere near the money he has to spend.”
The House will be up for grabs, with Democrats seeking to replace Republican incumbents in at least 25 districts and Sanders looking to flip eight more. Democrats have a better than 1,000-seat majority that gives them the ability to control all three branches of government. They can also take back the Senate that had been controlled by the Republicans for 35 years.
To win those races, Sanders is betting on building a broad grassroots movement with millions of new voters, spending heavily on TV ads, and using online ads and radio spots to target Democratic supporters.
He is launching an organization — Our Revolution, which he has been calling for over a month — to coordinate his messaging, with the goal of recruiting tens of thousands of voters. He hired several high-profile aides,