Why Democrats need unity now

Former U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-NY, is encouraging the Democratic party to band together for the upcoming primaries and midterm elections, rather than picking apart differences. “We have an opportunity to win a majority, and impose checks and balances on Donald Trump,” the former congressman said on “Salon Talks.” “We need to stop aiming at one another and just win seats. And then let the conversation begin.”

Israel, who spent 16 years in Congress, also served as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He says gun policy will be the deciding issue for voters for midterms. “What issue is more intense in a primary challenge, on the Republican side, than guns? No issue. A member of Congress goes back to the district, sees that bumper sticker, ‘I'm NRA and I vote.’ Take that literally,’” Israel said. “The person who puts that bumper sticker on, they will vote for their member of Congress as long as their member of Congress is pure on the gun issue. They will forgive their member of Congress on 99 pecent of the rest.”

Watch the full interview to hear Israel’s advice for the Parkland students and more on why he left Congress and is now pursuing a writing career. Tune in for SalonTV's live shows, "Salon Talks" and "Salon Stage", daily at noon ET / 9 a.m. PT and 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT, streaming live on Salon, Facebook and Periscope.

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