Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is the surging front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, fueled by grassroots support from younger Americans who favor his socialist policies.
But, according to MSNBC host Chris Matthews, there will be devastating consequences for the Democratic Party if Sanders goes on to win the party's nomination.
During an interview on MSNBC Tuesday, Matthews scolded the Democratic field for "pandering" to Sanders and his supporters.
"They're just pandering to the Bernie people and you know what pandering gets you? Nothing," Matthews said. "It certainly doesn't get you respect.
"They've got to get out there and say, 'I disagree with socialism. I believe in the markets. I think he's wrong. I think he'll never get it done and this country will never go that direction and by the way we'll lose 49 states,'" he continued.
Instead of pandering, Matthews said the other Democratic candidates must challenge the Vermont senator.
"Nobody just says the obvious: 'Bernie, you're full of it. None of this going to get passed. You're going to be a miserable president, frustrated from the first day because you're not going to get Medicare for All. You're not going to get free college tuition for public universities. You're not going to get payoffs of all student loans. None of this is going to happen and you're just going to just sit there and stew in it.' So why don't they bring that up? I do not understand why they don't bring that up," Matthews said.
Losing 49 states is a reference to the 1972 presidential election in which Democrats nominated George McGovern, despite opposition from the party's moderates, and subsequently lost 49 states to incumbent President Richard Nixon. Only Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., voted for McGovern.
Matthews has made his disdain for socialism very clear.
After the Democratic debate earlier this month, Matthews declared, "I've seen what socialism's like, and I don't like it. OK? It's not only not free, it doesn't frickin' work."