Clyburn rejects claim that South Carolina voters won't support Sanders' democratic socialism

Clyburn rejects claim that South Carolina voters won't support Sanders' democratic socialism
© Greg Nash

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Sunday he does not think the label of democratic socialist will make South Carolina voters hesitant to choose Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — No SALT, and maybe no deal Menendez goes after Sanders over SALT comments It's time for the Senate to vote: Americans have a right to know where their senators stand MORE (I-Vt.) in the state's Democratic presidential primary on Saturday.

Asked about his thoughts on fellow South Carolina Democratic Rep. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamMace chief of staff steps down during turbulent week Pediatrician unveils challenge to GOP's Mace in South Carolina 'Blue wave' Democrats eye comebacks after losing reelection MORE's comments that voters in his state "don't want socialism," Clyburn said he only partially agrees with his colleague's assessment. 

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"I concur with his conclusions, I don't know that all should apply to Bernie Sanders," Clyburn said on NBC's "Meet the Press." 

Clyburn said Sanders "brings a lot" in terms of initiatives for rural America for people to consider. 

"I have worked very closely with Bernie Sanders on many issues, community health centers, we've been working on that together for 15 years. I do believe that community health centers as well as other initiatives in rural America, I think that Bernie Sanders brings a lot to the table for people to consider," Clyburn said. 

Clyburn added that he knows why Cunningham is nervous, adding that "anybody who refers himself as democratic socialist" has always faced "really dire consequences throughout South Carolina." 

Cunningham, a moderate Democrat who flipped a GOP-held seat in 2018, said earlier this month he would not support Sanders proposals to raise taxes. He also said Sanders "will not be the nominee," but the senator has gone on to lead the field after the first three voting states.