Bernie Sanders may be the only one capable of beating Donald Trump but his surge has put Democrats on high alert

Bernie Sanders may be the only one capable of beating Donald Trump but his surge has put Democrats on high alert
Bernie Sanders (Getty Images)

Members of the Democratic Party are worried over the prospects of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders bagging the presidential nomination for the November election, according to reports.

Sanders finished a close second to former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa Caucuses on February 3 but turned the tables around in the New Hampshire Primary on Tuesday, February 11, by clinching the top slot. Buttigieg finished second on this occasion, falling only 1.3% points short. Overall, Sanders has now 21 delegates, one less than Buttigieg’s 22. 

The rise of the socialist Sanders coupled with the fading of the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden who failed to meet the expectations in Iowa and especially New Hampshire has started convincing the Democrats that the 78-year-old could now find the way before him unchallenged. The next couple of polls in Nevada and South Carolina are crucial and if Sanders does well there, the nomination scenario will look increasingly clear. 

But the idea of a socialist contesting the presidential election in the US has terrified many Democratic strategists. Pennsylvania’s former Democratic governor Ed Rendell, for instance, told the Financial Times that he personally likes Sanders and called the latter “honest” and one who stands by his words. But he added that Sanders will not be able to become the president because the US will never vote for a socialist.

Kenneth Baer, a Democratic strategist and official of the former Barack Obama administration, even said Sanders is not a Democrat. “Democrats don’t seem to be taking that seriously. Nobody is actually questioning him. Nobody is actually saying: these are his views on foreign policy, on how we deliver benefits to the least fortunate, and that is not what Democrats believe,” he added. 

One Democratic donor warned that if Sanders wins the nomination, it would not only hurt the party’s chances of winning back the White House but also challenge its hold in the House of Representatives where many of the Dems represent moderate districts. The donor also said the same about Warren, another left-leaning candidate in the fray. “Everybody I know is terrified that Bernie or Elizabeth Warren is going to get traction, and not only would they lose to Donald Trump if you put a socialist label on the Democratic party, we would lose the House,” the donor said.


Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders during a Democratic presidential debate in 2016. (Getty)

Sanders has not got the backing of Obama, Hillary

Sanders hasn’t won the support of party heavyweights like Obama and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton. While Hillary has always revealed her disliking for Sanders, her rival in the 2016 primary season, Obama has particularly been anti to Sanders’ candidacy. Last November, he had warned the 2020 presidential hopefuls against going too far to the left as that would alienate the voters wary of a major shake-up in society and government. He had even said privately that he would speak up to stop the Vermont senator from becoming the Democratic presidential nominee. 

According to a report in LifeZette, another angle to the story is that the moderates in the Democratic Party are deliberately creating a trap for the left camp in the party. The left led by Sanders will be given “enough rope to hang themselves in 2020, since Trump will win anyway,” the report added. “Then the Bolshies will be blamed for the loss, will lose strategic credibility, and Pelosi will have the weapon she needs to purge the party leadership of them,” it said.


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 Bernie Sanders going strong towards presidential nomination worries many Democratic leaders