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Midterms 2018

Even Jimmy Carter Urges Dems to Avoid Veering to the Far Left

Ahead of 2018 midterm elections, former president pleaded with his party to reach out to independents by avoiding progressive policies

Former President Jimmy Carter is warning fellow Democrats to reject quickly growing pressure from progressives to adopt far-Left policies or else risk losing crucial support from independent voters in the November 2018 midterm elections.

“Independents need to know they can invest their vote in the Democratic Party,” Carter said, while delivering his annual report at The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, according to the Associated Press.

Even though Carter backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries, he urged Democrats to avoid moving “to a very liberal program, like universal health care,” if they’re still trying to appeal to moderate voters dissatisfied with both President Donald Trump’s policies and far-Left ideology.

The former president also dismissed Democratic lawmakers’ and candidates’ concerns that they would lose the progressive wing of their base if they espoused more moderate policies, saying, “I don’t think any Democrat is going to vote against a Democratic nominee.”

AP noted that “there is some historical irony in Carter’s analysis” because of his presidential re-election loss to Ronald Reagan in 1980. Carter, widely viewed as a moderate Democrat, faced a 1980 Democratic primary challenge from former Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), who was backed by the party’s more liberal wing. Carter struggled to rally those voters after he defeated Kennedy.

After suffering resounding losses across the board during the 2016 elections, Democrats struggled to rally around a unifying message to oppose Trump’s “Make America Great Again” and “America First” policies — all while the gap between their progressive and Establishment factions widened.

New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) stunned the political Establishment in June by defeating 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), the heavily funded chairman of the House Democratic Caucus. The 28-year-old first-time political candidate is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America.

After Ocasio-Cortez began calling for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be abolished — a radical position formerly backed only on the Democratic Party’s left-wing fringe — a handful of Democratic lawmakers joined her calls.

Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial nominee, Tallahassee Mayor Robert Gillum, also became a political star when he pulled off an upset victory against former Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.). Gillum was backed by Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, and liberal funder George Soros.

Related: Dems Are ‘Being Boxed in’ by Ocasio-Cortez’s Progressive Socialism

Progressive Democrats are calling for the abolishment of ICE, impeaching Trump, a $15 dollar minimum wage across the board, and a single-payer (i.e. government, using tax dollars) health care system, among other divisive policies.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) warned Wednesday on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” that far-Left progressive policies like these could be in store for Americans if Democrats retake the House in November and select House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) as the next Speaker of the House.

“The reason why I think they would elect Nancy — because remember who is winning in the primaries. The socialists are, and that’s much more aligned with where Nancy is, in San Francisco, than where the rest of the nation is,” said McCarthy, who is also in the running for Speaker of the House.

“Well, that should scare all Americans. If Democrats were to win the majority, I believe Nancy would be speaker,” McCarthy added.

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PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected].