Wednesday, January 8, 2020

A Legitimate Contender, Establishment Democrats Afraid Bernie Sanders Could Win

Frankly, I hope he does win.

We'll have a very clear choice in November. And at least with Bernie, the rank-and-file won't be able to claim their party's "not socialist."

At the Associated Press:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Increasingly alarmed that Bernie Sanders could become their party’s presidential nominee, establishment-minded Democrats are warning primary voters that the self-described democratic socialist would struggle to defeat President Donald Trump and hurt the party’s chances in premier House, Senate and governors’ races.

The urgent warnings come as Sanders shows new signs of strength on the ground in the first two states on the presidential primary calendar, Iowa and New Hampshire, backed by a dominant fundraising operation. The Vermont senator has largely escaped close scrutiny over the last year as his rivals doubted the quirky 78-year-old’s ability to win the nomination. But less than a month before Iowa’s kickoff caucuses, the doubters are being forced to take Sanders seriously.

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, previously a senior aide to President Barack Obama, warned Democrats that Sanders’ status as a democratic socialist and his unwavering support for “Medicare for All” won’t play well among swing voters in the states that matter most in 2020.

“You need a candidate with a message that can help us win swing voters in battleground states,” Emanuel said in an interview. “The degree of difficulty dramatically increases under a Bernie Sanders candidacy. It just gets a lot harder.”

The increasingly vocal concerns are coming from a number of political veterans tied to the Obama administration and the 2020 field’s moderate wing, including those backing former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet.

In some ways, the criticism is not surprising.

Sanders has spent decades fighting to transform the nation’s political and economic systems, creating a long list of political adversaries along the way. Many people connected to Hillary Clinton, for example, still blame Sanders for not working hard enough to support her after their long and bitter presidential primary feud in 2016. Some Democrats still accuse him of not being enough of a team player.

Sanders’ chief strategist Jeff Weaver dismissed the growing criticism as a reflection of the strength of his candidacy.

He raised more money than any other Democratic candidate in the last quarter — virtually all of it from small-dollar donors — and he’s considered a legitimate contender to win Iowa and New Hampshire next month...