(SLATE)April 18, 2019
Bernie Sanders’ strong early position for the Democratic nomination is giving powerful Democratic players who dislike him all sorts of feelings, none of them good.
Sanders’ fundraising prowess and base of support have surfaced what the New York Times this week referred to as the “What to Do About Bernie” question. But the Democrats who don’t want to see him win the pennant—a collection of donors, operatives, and national officials who find Sanders’ politics too far left for their personal taste, and presumably the electorate’s—feel boxed in as to how they should respond. If they do nothing to stop Sanders, then they will have done nothing to stop Sanders. But if they put together some coordinated effort to stop him, then Sanders will channel those efforts into his “anti-establishment” messaging.
It’s a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t moment for leading anti-Sanders figures. It’s not particularly complicated, though, why they feel so powerless: Essentially, they are. This is something to keep in mind when reading about supposed “establishment” plots to “stop Bernie”—or when Sanders himself is advantageously fundraising off of supposed “establishment” plots to sabotage his candidacy.