Friday discussion: Sen. Bernie Sanders says the Democratic Party is out of touch. Are we?

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Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders isn’t shying away from criticizing the Democratic Party as we head into 2017. From NPR:

"Look, you can't simply go around to wealthy people's homes raising money and expect to win elections," the Vermont senator, who gave Clinton a surprisingly strong run for the Democratic nomination, told NPR's David Greene in an interview airing on Morning Edition. "You've got to go out and mix it up and be with ordinary people."

And:

"I happen to believe that the Democratic Party has been not doing a good job in terms of communicating with people in cities, in towns and in rural America, all over this country," [Senator Sanders] said.

Senator Sanders makes these statements despite Democrats having won the presidential popular vote by nearly three million votes and in the face of significant institutional hurdles to voter participation and accurate representation, such as partisan gerrymandering and legalized voter suppression in battleground states.

This question is also relevant here in Oregon, where sharp divisions endure between urban Democrats and rural Republicans, and in urban centers like Portland, where competing progressive visions often come into conflict.

Is Senator Sanders right that the party has lost its way? If so, what’s the way forward, both nationally and here at home? If not, what are your thoughts on his remarks?

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