Former President Carter warned fellow Democrats that pivoting too far to the left could endanger their support among independents.
“Independents need to know they can invest their vote in the Democratic Party,” Carter said Tuesday during an address at his post-presidential center and library in Atlanta, according to The Associated Press.
He urged the party to focus on moderate policies and said Democrats should not “move to a very liberal program, like universal health care.”
Carter, who supported progressive Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) in the Democratic presidential primary against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWhite House accuses Biden of pushing ‘conspiracy theories’ with Trump election claim Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton qualifies to run for county commissioner in Florida MORE in 2016, said progressives would not sacrifice their goals by voting for a moderate and that only a Democrat would address their concerns.
He also addressed concerns that moving toward the center would cost Democrats votes from the progressive wing.
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“I don’t think any Democrat is going to vote against a Democratic nominee,” he said.
The comments come as Democrats struggle to find a unifying message ahead of November’s midterm elections, one that goes beyond just opposition to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE.
A handful of progressive candidates have stunned the political world this year by defeating more established Democrats, including democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who beat Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a June primary.