Former Sen. Mark Pryor to Progressives: Give Moderates Elbow Room

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- Former Sen. Mark Pryor on Friday urged those on the far left in the Democratic Party to give moderates 'elbow room.'

He said this while speaking at a luncheon in Fayetteville.

While speaking to a crowd of around 150, the former senator gave an update on his life. He's now living in North Little Rock and working for a law firm called Venable. He said since losing to Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, in 2014, "Life has been great." 

Speaking on the current rift in the Democratic Party between progressives and centrists, the senator urged supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, to allow moderates in the party to thrive. Doing so will drive moderate voters to the party where they'll feel safe, Pryor said. 

Pryor pointed out that Sanders isn't a Democrat and said if the party goes hard to the left, it'll shrink. 

He described the current environment for Democrats as one where if someone varies from liberal positions, they get their head bitten off. The former senator said that's not healthy. 

Pointing out that the GOP is in a similar position, Pryor said if a representative or senator takes a position that isn't popular with the party, they'll find themselves with a well-funded primary opponent in the next election.

As for the next election cycles in 2018 and 2020, Pryor said they're 'wide open.' He advised Democrats to give people something to vote for, instead of simply being the party that disagrees with President Donald Trump. Pryor said he wants to see Trump do well. 

"If the president does well, the country does well," Pryor said. 

Speaking on current politicians in Washington, D.C., Pryor said there are too many entering Congress that are too conservative or too liberal. The former senator said Congress needs more middle ground. He spoke well of Rep. Steve Womack, saying he 'reflects the values of his district well.'

"Steve is in it for the right reasons," Pryor said. 

During his speech, Pryor touched on how corrupt the current political system is because of unlimited and dark money. The former senator also spoke on redistricting, saying it's important that congressional districts be well balanced and drawn without partisanship. 

Overall, Pryor said he's not happy with where the U.S. is as a nation, and it needs more voters. 


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