CNN host and political commentator Van Jones says that the popularity of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in the Democratic presidential primary race shows that "mainline Democrats" have a problem and that the party needs to "look in the mirror" to figure out what's going on.
"From a party point of view, mainline Democrats are being squeezed out by Bernie and Bloomberg," Jones said during a panel discussion following Wednesday night's contentious debate. "Bernie is leading a bottom-up insurgency from the left, and he's not actually a Democrat. And then now you have this top-down incursion from the right from, uh, from Bloomberg — millions of people billions of dollars — he's not really a Democrat, either."
As far as the two candidates' Democratic bona fides are concerns, Jones was likely referring to the fact that Sanders' party affiliation in the Senate is independent and Bloomberg was a Republican during his years as New York City mayor.
Jones said that, in his view, the popularity of the two candidates "tells me that there's a judgment going on with the American people that the mainline Democrats — there's something wrong, there's something defective, there's something that's not cutting the cheese and so these outside forces are coming in, squeezing them out."
"What you're seeing is there's a judgment on this party and frankly one of the people I had the most hope in is you because you had a different set of ideas," Jones said to former Democratic candidate Andrew Yang, who was also on the panel, "but people should be looking in the mirror in this party to figure out what is going on here because really we should have other choices than just these two outsiders."
But Democrats have had plenty of other candidate choices in the primary race so far, many of whom have already dropped out of the running for party's nomination after failing to gain steam.
And yet, out of that incredibly crowded primary field, Sanders has emerged as the current front-runner with the former mayor enjoying his own recent surge after declaring his candidacy in November. After winning the New Hampshire primary, Sanders' RealClearPolitics national polling average currently puts him at the front of the pack with Bloomberg coming in third place behind former Vice President Joe Biden.