Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday declined to say whether he will share extremely valuable information about his huge network of supporters ― including their email addresses and other personal information ― with the Democratic Party, as Hillary Clinton did earlier this month.
“Well, right now, John,” the progressive champion told CBS News’ John Dickerson, “our focus is building up a strong progressive movement in this country. And I think the people who donated want us to focus on electing the most progressive people that we possibly can and bringing our people together to oppose this disastrous Trump agenda, which calls for tax breaks to billionaires while at the same time he wants to throw 24 million Americans off of health insurance, defund Planned Parenthood, and raise premiums for older seniors.”
“So our job right now is to build the progressive movement,” he added. “And we are making some pretty good success. All over the country, we’re seeing progressives running for office and beginning to win.”
“Some Democrats are going to hear that and think, ‘Well, he’s not totally committed to the whole Democratic Party idea here,’” Dickerson responded.
“Well, there’s very few people who have been running around the country quite as much as I have been, trying to bring people into the party,” Sanders countered, arguing Democrats needed to compete in red states in order to grow the party.
Sanders’ team has been reluctant to give the list to the Democratic National Committee out of fear that it will be misused in their hands, HuffPost’s Daniel Marans reported in February. They also argue that the individuals on the list did not sign up as Democrats but as supporters of Sanders. The Vermont senator says he identifies as a Democratic Socialist.
The fate of Sanders’ list is yet another bone of contention between Democrats and the party’s grassroots base. A “Unity Tour” embarked upon last week by Sanders and DNC Chair Tom Perez across the country did little to mend divisions between progressives and moderates. In fact, it exposed them further.