Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent lawmaker who caucuses with Democrats, warned the Democratic Party this week what will happen if Democrats do not improve American lives now that they control the White House, House, and have effective control over the Senate.
What did Sanders say?
Sanders predicted the Democratic Party will be "wiped out" in the 2022 midterm elections if they squander their opportunity to improve American lives.
"Given all that we face, now is not the time to think small. It is time to think big, very big," Sanders said on Thursday, according to McClatchy reporter Francesca Chambers.
"With Joe Biden as president and Democrats controlling the House and Senate for the first time since 2010, we will be judged on what we deliver for the American people in their time of need. The people want action, not excuses," Sanders explained.
"And let me be very clear. I have zero doubt that unless we significantly improve the lives of the American people this year, Democrats will get wiped out in the 2022 midterm elections," Sanders predicted. "That is what happened when Democrats had the House, the Senate and the presidency under Bill Clinton in 1994 and that is what happened under Barack Obama in 2010."
"Politicians and media focus a great deal on drama, personality and conflict," Sanders added. "That's how they define politics. That is not my view. Politics is nothing more complicated than delivering policy that positively impacts the lives of working families.
Of course, Sanders' vision of what policies are beneficial significantly diverge from the majority of Americans. Sanders is a self-declared "democratic-socialist," who advocates for European-style socialism.
Indeed, Sanders said this week that he would use his power in the Senate to implement as much of his big government agenda as possible while Democrats control Congress.
Sanders wrote in an essay for CNN:
The Senate's 60-vote threshold to pass major legislation has become an excuse for inaction. But let's be clear: We have the tools to overcome these procedural hurdles. As incoming Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, I will use a process known as budget reconciliation that will allow us to pass comprehensive legislation with only 51 votes.
What's the history of Dem control?
Democrats have a poor history of leveraging control in Washington.
In fact, the last two times that Democrats had control of the White House and Congress — after Bill Clinton's election in 1992 and Barack Obama's election in 2008 — Democrats gave up control in the next national election
The 1994 midterm elections were particularly bad for Democrats; they lost control of the Senate, House, a net loss of 10 governorships, and numerous state legislatures. The 2010 midterm elections were equally as bad — coming amid the Tea Party movement — though Democrats managed to retain control of the Senate until the 2014 midterm elections.