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Hillary Clinton supporter Rep. Steve Israel: ‘Donald Trump is the Republican Party’

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States
  • Hillary Clinton
    Hillary Clinton
    American politician
  • Bernie Sanders
    Bernie Sanders
    American politician
  • Steve Israel
    Former U.S. Representative from New York


By Alex Bregman

On Thursday, Democratic Congressman Steve Israel joined Alexis Christoforous on “Yahoo News Live” to discuss his support for Hillary Clinton, her path to the nomination and, as the former chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, how Donald Trump’s candidacy will impact the down-ballot elections in November.

On whether or not Israel is surprised that the Republican race has wrapped up before the Democratic race, he told Christoforous, “I have to confess that I am rather stunned not by the fact that Republicans have now chosen the new face of the Republican Party as early as they did, but the fact that Donald Trump is the new face of the Republican Party.”

Does he think Clinton will ultimately be the nominee, despite Bernie Sanders’ continued presence in the race? “Yes,” he said. “She has over 3 million votes more than Bernie Sanders, nearly 300 more pledged delegates than Bernie Sanders. She will be the nominee. She’s not taking anything for granted, Alexis. She’s going to continue to work hard and campaign aggressively.”

Israel dismissed Sanders’ argument that he is the better nominee because he does better against Trump in polls. “We’re in a political environment now where there’s something going on with polling, and those polls — whether they’re good for you or bad for you — those polls are not the most reliable vehicles in which to make a judgment,” he said. “I will say that at the end of the day, in a general election environment when you have a contrast between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I think that Hillary Clinton has a stronger ability to win that general election.” He did concede, however, that “this will be an unpredictable general election environment.”

He said Clinton will appeal to a large portion of the general electorate because of the dangers of a Trump presidency. “She is going to try and appeal — and not just try and appeal, because I believe she will appeal — to those moderate and independent voters across the board because they know, themselves, that President Donald Trump is a high-risk proposition for the United States of America,” he said.

Israel did not urge Sanders to drop out of the race. “That’s a judgment that Bernie Sanders has to make, ultimately,” he said. “I would urge him, however — without urging him to get out or stay in — I would urge him to focus not on what differences Democrats may or may not have, but to focus on Donald Trump and lay off attacking Hillary Clinton and instead focus on what he believes he brings to the table with respect to Donald Trump. If he does that, he has the right to stay in, but at a certain point, we’ve got to be united, we’ve got to be organized.”

Israel also had a message for Sanders about Trump echoing the senator’s attacks on Clinton’s judgment and qualifications: “Leave those attacks to the Republicans. Don’t enable those attacks.” He then had a message about Trump’s talk of “bad judgment.” “Remember, this is a guy who has said that a woman should be punished for her own health care decisions, that we should ban all Muslims from coming into the United States and that not only does he oppose increasing the minimum wage, but that wages are already too high,” he said. “Those are examples of bad judgment.”

The former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee also discussed the down-ballot election. “Donald Trump is the Republican Party,” he said. “He is the face, the voice, the nominee of the Republican Party, and if you’re running down-ballot, you have an obligation to say whether you’re with Trump or against Trump. I assume that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee will hold Republicans accountable to their positions.”

Israel, however, would not yet predict if Trump’s candidacy would hand the Democrats both the House and the Senate in November. “I believe that the Senate is very much in play,” he told Christoforous. “I have to tell you, as the former chair of the DCCC, I think it would be premature to say that the House is in play.”

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