MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews on Tuesday scolded the Democratic presidential field for attempting to pander to Sen. Bernie Sanders's (I., Vt.) supporters instead of attacking the frontrunner's "self-declared socialism."
"They're just pandering to the Bernie people and you know what pandering gets you? Nothing," Matthews said. "They've got to get out there and say, 'I disagree with socialism. I believe in the markets. I think he's wrong. I think he'll never get it done and this country will never go that direction and by the way we'll lose 49 states.'"
Matthews, who has been a staunch critic of Sanders in recent weeks, reflected on the 1972 Democratic convention where he said he witnessed supporters of far-left Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern "dancing in glee" over defeating moderate Democrats and then losing 49 states in the general election against Richard Nixon.
"That can happen again. So clearly, that's what I see. It could happen again," Matthews said.
Matthews said Democrats need to attack Sanders's agenda as totally unrealistic.
"Nobody just says the obvious: 'Bernie, you're full of it. None of this going to get passed. You're going to be a miserable president, frustrated from the first day because you're not going to get Medicare for All. You're not going to get free college tuition for public universities. You're not going to get payoffs of all student loans. None of this is going to happen and you're just going to just sit there and stew in it,'" Matthews said. "So why don't they bring that up? I do not understand why they don't bring that up."
Jennifer Palmieri, who served as the communications director for Hillary Clinton's failed 2016 campaign, said she agreed with Matthews.
"I think Chris is right that in this multi-candidate field you have to have a harder edge against Sanders and make the argument about what he's not going to be able to do, and there are people who were just never going to come our way. They just never, ever were," Palmieri said. "To build your campaign assuming that you can win over the hardest-core Sanders supporters is a folly to me."