It just got a little harder for Democratic incumbents to distance themselves from efforts to implement a single-payer healthcare system.
On Thursday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sent a fundraising email from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that promoted his single-payer legislation.
"In the wealthiest country in the history of the world, health care must be a right, not a privilege, for every man, woman, and child. We must not pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs," Sanders said in the email. "And that is why I recently introduced, along with 16 other Democrats, a Medicare for All Single Payer bill."
Ironically, the email went on to accuse Republicans of becoming more radical, arguing billionaires like the Koch brothers have moved the party to the "extreme right."
"Not only must we win elections in 2018, we must fight to make the Democratic Party a 50 state party," Sanders urged.
In fact, the very single-payer legislation he promoted in the email could jeopardize several Senate Democrats' chances of winning reelection. The DSCC's decision to mention the Sanders bill in a fundraising pitch gives Republicans the ability to pin it to vulnerable Democrats like Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., whose individual campaign strategies will rely on framing them as centrists.
Ten Democratic members of the upper chamber are up for reelection in states President Trump won in 2016. Some progressives, Sanders included, see single-payer legislation as a populist pitch that could appeal to working class Trump voters. But it's hard to imagine how Republican efforts to tie someone like McCaskill to Sanders' legislation wouldn't hurt their chances.
A number of high-profile Democrats announced their support for the Sanders bill last week, but the DSCC's nod of support adds to the narrative that the party's establishment is embracing it as well. This email gives Republicans ammunition to depict Democrats in states like West Virginia and Missouri as progressive radicals more in touch with coastal ideologues than their own working class constituents.
It looks a lot like the DSCC is proving them right.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.