McConnell has acknowledged the election will be a referendum on Trump, but he clearly thinks it will also become a test of the nation’s appetite for progressive policies depending on who the Democratic nominee is.

“It’s also going to be a referendum on what the House [Democrats] would do if they took over the government: the Green New Deal, Medicare for All, under which 180 million Americans would lose their private health insurance,” he told reporters in remarks late last month.

McConnell has said that he wants to make 2020 a “referendum on socialism,” a message Trump has also telegraphed.

Even if Sanders, a self-described Democratic socialist, doesn’t win the Democratic nomination, McConnell wants to paint the eventual nominee as a candidate in his mold.