Former Sanders campaign official wants progressives to 'go crazy,' take Dems 'hostage'

Nina Turner, former co-chair for the presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., wants progressives "go crazy" and turn up the heat on the Democratic Party and maybe mimic how the Tea Party previously defied Republicans.

"What I would love to see the progressive movement do -- from the progressive members of the House of Representatives and progressive members who may be in the Senate -- is to go crazy," she said during an interview published on Thursday.

Turner told Jordan Chariton, CEO of the liberal outlet Status Coup, that Democrats might want to "take a page out of the Tea Party's book ... and hold the Democratic Party hostage until they do something on behalf of the American people."

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Turner's comments reflected simmering frustration within the party as progressives urged Democrats to take more left-leaning positions before the 2020 presidential election. The intraparty divide was on full display during the Democratic primary debates, where candidates sparred over the potential scope of government intervention in the health care sector.

"People hedged on that debate stage -- you know, Medicare-for-all-who-choose -- they worked so hard to get that health care on their job, don't take it away from them," Turner said, paraphrasing Democratic arguments against a single-payer system.

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"Well, we know that COVID-19 has blown the roof off of all of the rhetoric and the lies, and the illusion -- that health care tied to one's job does not work. [Thirty-three] million people unemployed and climbing on top of the almost 90 million people who are already underinsured and uninsured. And guess what? They don't have health care," she said.

Turner said that if the pandemic's impact, particularly on the African-American community, didn't change people's minds on the issue, "I don't know what else will."