Linda Chavez said Sunday that Russian President Vladimir Putin was the clear winner after Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders practically ran away with the Nevada caucuses.
Chavez, who worked in the White House under former President Ronald Reagan, argued during a CNN panel that a general election between Sanders and President Donald Trump would be extremely divisive — and that would ultimately benefit Putin above all others. (RELATED: ‘Chairman Schiff Caused Himself A Lot Of Problems’: CNN Guest Criticizes Grandstanding Democrats)
Host Jake Tapper turned the question to Chavez, asking whether Sanders’ apparent success in earning the Latino vote in Nevada was an indicator of how well he might rally the Democratic base moving forward. “He said, ‘Not only can I win Nevada with that vote, but I can win Texas,'” Tapper explained.
“That is to me, the surprising part of the evening, the 51% of Hispanics who voted for Bernie,” Chavez said. “I think it has to do with him saying that ‘I will give you free college and by the way, I will wipe out your debt if you happen to have gone to college and gotten yourself in debt, I will wipe it out.'”
Chavez went on to explain why she believed that in spite of Sanders’ commanding lead over the rest of the field, the real winner was still Putin. “I mean, we are going to have the most divisive election if Bernie is the nominee, we will see two very, very angry people representing two very different extremes of their parties, and I think that helps make America more chaotic, and it makes us more divisive and the one who is getting advantaged by that is Russia,” she said.
Justice Democrats’ Alexandra Rojas took issue with the suggestion that Sanders was divisive, claiming that he was doing well because he was reaching out to communities that had felt forgotten. “He has enlisted movements of young Latinos on the ground and one of two presidential candidates calling for a moratorium of the deportations within the first 100 days —” she said.
“I wanted to take issue with what Linda said,” former Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Rick Santorum jumped in then. “Two angry folks representing the extremes, and I would agree that with Bernie Sanders, and he is representing no question the extreme of the Democratic Party and he says that he is a socialist and he is angry, I agree, but Donald Trump is not representing the extreme of the Republican Party, and he has crafted a new Republican Party, but I would not say it is ultraconservative —”
Chavez repeated her concern, saying, “And the issues that he is representing is the extreme. He is divisive racially and ethically.”
“Well, he is a divisive person, but not the policies,” Santorum conceded, adding, “I would say that he is Rick Santorum’s party, because I was writing about the blue collar conservatives and middle income people, and that is what Donald Trump has done.”