Sen. Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, made a strong showing in his 2016 run for the Democratic Party’s nomination against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Sanders ultimately lost to the Clinton by 977 delegates, causing a rift in the party that some claim cost Clinton the White House.
While Sanders is holding strong in current polling, he trails former Vice President Joe Biden by 18.4 points, according to a current RealClearPolitics average.
Some Dems are reportedly already worrying about a repeat of 2016 and how Sanders could be a thorn in Biden’s political flesh, especially if he loses and doesn’t immediately attempt to bring the party together — something he didn’t do fast enough in 2016, according to The Hill.
“I think Bernie will do everything in his power to elevate himself by pushing others down,” an aide to a Democratic senator told the outlet.
According to the report, another aide said that this thinking is widespread within the ranks of the Democratic party, but nobody’s saying anything right now because it could make things worse.
“This guy is going to play spoiler again,” the aide explained, referencing a potential outcome if someone other than Sanders wins the nomination.
Sanders supporters, however, have a different viewpoint — and they’re not happy with establishment Democrats assuming Sanders doesn’t have a chance at winning, calling it disrespectful. National co-chair of Sanders’ campaign, Rep. Ro Khanna, is optimistic, stating that Sanders “has a very good chance of being the nominee.”
“His support is remarkably stable and he continues to attract huge crowds. He has a very committed base. I anticipate he’s going to do very well in Iowa and New Hampshire,” Khanna added.
An unnamed Democratic senator cited in The Hill’s report thinks Biden’s support isn’t as strong as the polls would have one believe.
“I am not persuaded that his polling lead is not written in the wind,” he said.
If he’s right in his assumption, a fall in the polls for Biden would mean a massive jump for Sanders — who has held a steady second place position.
Many are excited about Sanders’ energy, as he’s stated that his primary goal is to beat President Donald Trump, according to campaign pollster Ben Tulchin. But he also reminded any doubters that Sanders is committed to helping any nominee with beating Trump to take the White House.
“A driving force for a lot of Democratic primary voters is the desire to beat Trump. Bernie shares that desire and says his No. 1 goal is defeating Trump. He obviously hopes to be the nominee but he’ll get behind any person who is out there. I think we’ll have a very unified party,” Tulchin explained.
Sanders’ strong fundraising speaks for itself and could help propel him to victory, should he inch closer to first place in the polls. OpenSecrets reports that in 2016, Sanders raised a whopping $229,106,804, with a majority of those contributions coming from donations under $200 dollars.