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Clinton: ‘It is a time for some careful thinking about what wins elections’

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Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton took a swipe at progressive Democrats earlier this month, saying that her party needs to consider “what wins elections” rather than what plays well “in deep-blue districts.”

In an interview with NBC’s Willie Geist, Clinton said that supports “having vigorous debate” and including different voices in the process of governing. But she also warned that “it means nothing if we don’t have a Congress that will get things done” or “a White House that we can count on to be sane and sober and stable and productive.”

“I think that it is a time for some careful thinking about what wins elections, and not just in deep-blue districts where a Democrat and a liberal Democrat, or so-called progressive Democrat, is going to win,” Clinton told Geist. “I understand why people want to argue for their priorities. That’s what they believe they were elected to do.” 

Clinton’s comments came amid a larger debate over the direction of the Democratic Party and the influence that progressives should wield in shaping it. 

President Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress have pushed to advance a sweeping social policy and climate change bill, despite reservations from some moderates, including Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who effectively stalled the measure earlier this month when he announced that he could not vote for it.

Some in the party have also warned that pursuing liberal policy priorities could lead to a backlash next year in the 2022 midterm elections, when Democrats will have to defend their razor-thin majorities in the House and Senate.

In a race that was seen as an early bellwether for 2022, Republican Glenn Youngkin pulled off an upset victory in the Virginia gubernatorial election last month. Republicans have touted that win as a sign that voters are poised to reject Democratic control in Washington next year.

Progressives, meanwhile, argue that voters have given Democrats a mandate to govern by handing them both the House and Senate majorities, as well as the White House, and that the party should use its power in Washington to advance sweeping policy overhauls. 

Clinton, a fixture of Democrats’ establishment wing, has had a contentious relationship with her party’s progressive wing, having fought Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a standard bearer for the progressive movement, for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.

Tags 2022 midterms Bernie Sanders Glenn Youngkin Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Joe Manchin progressives

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