The Democrat Party establishment — the same individuals faulted with purportedly rigging the 2016 election against Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) — is in “panic mode” over the socialist presidential hopeful’s rise in the polls and strong showings in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada, according to Politico.
Sanders, who has touted his popular vote victory in Iowa and outright victory in New Hampshire, celebrated his big win in Nevada on Saturday evening.
“I’m delighted to bring you some pretty good news. I think all of you know we won the popular vote in Iowa, we won the New Hampshire primary, and according to three networks and the AP, we have now won the Nevada caucus,” he told a crowd in San Antonio, Texas, touting the success of his grassroots campaign.
“No campaign has a grassroots campaign like we do, which is another reason we are going to win this election,” he added.
Sanders has now overtaken Pete Buttigieg (D) in current delegate totals, and recent polls indicate that Sanders could, in fact, give Joe Biden (D) a run for his money in South Carolina, despite the former vice president’s long-held stronghold in the state.
His momentum has individuals within the Democrat establishment — individuals who doubt his ability to successfully defeat President Trump in a general election matchup — entering “panic mode,” Politico reports.
“In 30-plus years of politics, I’ve never seen this level of doom,” the “modern center-left” group Third Way’s Matt Bennett told Politico.
“It’s this incredible sense that we’re hurtling to the abyss,” he continued, noting that Democrats also risk losing their majority in the House and warning, “if we do, there would be absolutely no way to stop [Trump].”
“Today is the most depressed I’ve ever been in politics,” he added.
According to Politico, Sanders’ win in Nevada, while expected, sparked a “sense of urgency” over establishment Democrats “who fear it’s quickly becoming too late to stop Sanders.”
Moderate Democrats originally placed their hope in Biden, who has failed to swoon potential voters during his debate performances. His most viral campaign moments have been negative, largely defined by embarrassing gaffes and tense exchanges with potential voters.
Biden’s weak performances have some moderates looking to Mike Bloomberg (D), although others doubt that the former New York City mayor can seal the deal in time:
“For the establishment, I think it’s Joe or bust,” said Simon Rosenberg, New Democrat Network president, who served as a senior strategist for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2018.
“Biden is the only one who has a path to defeat Bernie. It would involve him winning South Carolina and then performing well enough in the early March states to keep the race competitive,” Rosenberg said. “I don’t think Bloomberg can recover quickly enough from the hits he’s taken in recent days to remain competitive or win the nomination.”
“Everybody other than Bernie thinks everybody other than Bernie should drop out — except themselves,” Chris Lippencott, a Democratic strategist in Texas, told Politico.
He added that South Carolina’s upcoming primary could provide further insight into the true state of the Democrat Primary race.
“Maybe the [South] Carolina results provide a little clarity as to who really has a fighting chance. Unless that happens, they’re just crabs in a bucket pulling each other down,” Lippencott said.
Sanders is now setting his sites on the March 3 Super Tuesday states, where a sizable portion of delegates are up for grabs. Former presidential candidate and current CNN political commentator Andrew Yang (D) said that Sanders “may have a nearly insurmountable lead in the delegate count by mid-March.”
Sanders is the only Democrat candidate who has stated that the individual who goes into the Democrat National Convention with the most delegates — regardless if it is a majority — should be the nominee:
MSNBC's Chuck Todd asked the candidates if the person with the most delegates at the end of the primary season should be the nominee even if they don't have a majority of the delegates. Only one person on stage had a different answer from the others. #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/owrJtetRjh
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) February 20, 2020
A candidate needs 1,991 delegates in order to secure the nomination on the first ballot. Sanders currently leads with 35 delegates, meaning the race is far from over. Nonetheless, the momentum certainly appears to be behind the socialist senator hailing from Vermont, but the question remains: Will the Democrat establishment try to quash it?