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Campaign crunch time forces progressives to eye private jets Friday, 24 January 2020
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have spent the past year courting the Democratic Party's base with appeals to the working class and sweeping promises to curb climate change. But as they balance their responsibilities to participate in the Senate's impeachment trial and rally voters on the campaign trail, they're turning to private air travel, an option typically reserved for the elite and criticized as environmentally unfriendly.

Sanders is expected to charter a flight to Iowa this weekend while the Senate trial is in recess. Warren hasn't finalized her plans but is also considering private travel, and Amy Klobuchar hasn't ruled it out. Only Michael Bennet says he'll be flying commercial.

The senators are facing an unprecedented challenge in the final days before the Feb. 3 Iowa caucuses. At a time when they would typically barnstorm the state, they're instead stuck in Washington as jurors in President Donald Trump's impeachment case. The little time they have for campaigning makes commercial travel tough.

But the private planes present unique issues for Warren and Sanders. As the leading progressive voices in a crowded Democratic primary, they often criticize rivals they deem insufficiently loyal to those values. The sudden use of private travel is an example of how ideological rigidity can sometimes collide with White House aspirations.

“This is the problem of presenting your purity above your practicality," said Democratic strategist Chris Lippincott, who has not endorsed any of the 2020 primary candidates. “When we think about certain candidates who talk a lot about the environment ... you're going to hold them to a different standard."

Lippincott applauded the 2020 presidential hopefuls in the Senate for being willing to fly privately, if that's what their campaigns need.


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