Down-ballot Republicans watch with glee as Sanders gains steam

Republicans up and down the ballot are already casting their Democratic rivals as socialist puppets who would remake the economy in Sanders’ collectivist vision. The play is straightforward: President Donald Trump has repelled college-educated suburban voters since he took office; Republicans want to win them back by arguing the alternative is worse.

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally launched a TV ad titled “Bernie Bro” likening her Democratic opponent, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, to the Vermont senator. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis held a press conference last week linking his Democratic rivals to the Sanders-backed Green New Deal. In Michigan, a conservative group has aired a series of commercials that go after Democratic Sen. Gary Peters by invoking Sanders and his support for Medicare for All…

Austin Chambers, the RSLC president, said there wasn’t “anybody who doesn’t recognize that Republicans have lost ground in the suburbs in the last few election cycles.” But the 78-year-old Sanders, he said, would give Republicans an opening to win those voters back.