Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders appeared on Sunday on NBC News' Meet the Press to discuss, among other issues, the ongoing dispute between progressive Democrats and party leadership, The Washington Examiner reports.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, although the dispute has been brewing for quite some time, tensions escalated following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's decision to push through the House of Representatives a Senate bill increasing funding for immigration authorities.
Progressive members of Pelosi's caucus -- Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts -- criticized the decision, taking aim at the speaker for not attempting to negotiate better conditions for those detained at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Pelosi, who had previously criticized the left-leaning squad, dismissed them and their concerns in an interview with the New York Times, prompting the group to respond by accusing the top Democrat of singling them out.
Activists and grassroots organizations joined the fight, as did Pelosi-supporting Democrats, taking sides and feuding with each other.
Bernie Sanders is siding with the progressives, according to his interview with NBC News' Chuck Todd.
Sanders suggested to the host that he believes that Ocasio-Cortez and other left-leaning lawmakers are trying to "heal the pain of the working class of this country," which is "causing some political disruption within the leadership of the Democratic Party."
"So I support, you know, Alexandria's and the other women's desire to bring more people, especially young people, working class people, into the Democratic Party," he said.
Todd then pressed Sanders on whether he thinks Pelosi is being "too tough" on the progressives.
"I think a little bit," the senator responded.
"You cannot ignore the young people of this country who are passionate about economic and racial and social and environmental justice. You got to bring them in, not alienate them."Sanders entered the Democratic primary as one of the front-runners, relying on grassroots support he had acquired in 2016 to spread his populist message.He is not leading in the polls, however -- former Vice President Joe Biden is the front-runner, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polling data, and Sanders' numbers have dropped, with Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts catching up to the Vermont senator, and even surpassing him in some of the most recent polls. Party leadership is opposed to Sanders as well. As The New York Times reported, an unofficial "Stop Sanders" movement -- consisting of top Democrats, operatives, and powerful donors -- has formed in order to stop him from winning the nomination.