The Vermont independent will be 79 in 2020, but he appears to be running for president again. That’s a problem for Democrats.
In 2016, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was the long-shot candidate running for president in the Democratic Party, a group unsure what to make of him. If the white-haired septuagenarian, now a household name, decides to make another run in 2020, he will surely appease his own supporters while infuriating the party base.
A new report from Politico finds establishment Democrats are upset with Sanders over a series of moves he’s made since the 2016 election, including numerous public appearances and refusing to share his massive email list with the DNC.
“The fact that Tom Perez has given Sanders a platform without Sanders genuinely agreeing to work toward ‘unity’ has made a mockery of the whole process and literally divided the party more than it was before the tour began. It has been a disaster,” said Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the influential liberal Daily Kos site. “Yes, Perez and company are clearly afraid of Sanders and his followers, but letting Sanders make a mockery of the party doesn’t exactly help it build in the long haul.”
“He’s a constant reminder. He allows the healing that needs to take place to not take place,” said one longtime senior party official, who like others, remains too worried about appearing to oppose Sanders to speak on the record.
Sanders’ decision whether to run may also run into continued grumblings from Clinton loyalists, who are still sour over last year’s bitter primary battle.
If he were to run again, he would almost certainly be by far the most famous entrant, dominating the left and sucking up far more television coverage than he did before. But he would also have four years’ worth of new baggage to contend with, including barbs from Clinton allies who still quietly blame him for her loss.
Despite the so-called “unity tour,” it’s clear Democrats have not resolved the prickly issues that plagued their 2016 primary. Sanders’ continued presence on the national stage guarantees that battle will rage on.
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