Democrats may suffer "complications" among supporters in next year's midterm elections if they fail to pass a health bill containing a public option, Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) warned Monday.
Jackson, one of the many liberal Democrats in the House seeking to force leaders to include the key provision, warned that the Democratic base may stay home in 2010 if the House fails to pass a bill containing the public (or "government-run") option.
"The midterm elections could have profound implications for the Democratic base -- for activists, who have been advocating for universal coverage for a number of years," Jackson said during an appearance on CNBC this morning.
"So if that base is turned off, there could be complications for the Democratic House going into next year's elections," he added.
The Illinois lawmaker likened next year's midterm elections to the 1862 midterm elections, in which President Abraham Lincoln had to focus on a single, basic message in order to keep key coalitions intact.
The fate of the public option in the House has been the subject of an extended tug-of-war between centrist, Blue Dog Democrats who oppose the plan, and more liberal members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who have pledged to vote against a final health bill if it lacks such an option.