Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) parted ways with his Iowa political director in recent weeks, his campaign confirmed, part of a series of recent staff shake-ups in key early states, the Washington Post reports.
Washington Post: “This shift comes as Warren is publicly projecting a friendly attitude toward the Vermont senator — backing him up on the debate stage, refusing to criticize him when reporters ask, restraining her staffers from posting tweets needling him.”
“That avoids alienating Sanders voters whom she may need later. But strategists for both candidates say there’s only room for one of them to survive far beyond the early primaries, making for a below-the-surface battle, especially in Iowa and New Hampshire.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised more than $1 million for his presidential bid since he sparred with several moderate contenders during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate, The Hill reports.
The $1.1 million fundraising haul was bolstered by more than 70,000 donations.
James Hohmann: “Warren was aggressive about forcing her way into the fray, and she was rewarded with more speaking time than anyone else. Her background as a onetime Oklahoma state champion high school debater shone through repeatedly. She was most disciplined about sticking to her script and delivered well-rehearsed lines in a way that didn’t make them sound canned. She also did a better job than the others onstage of telling anecdotes to humanize policy debates.”
“She espouses essentially the same ideas as Sanders but makes them sound less radical. For this reason, Warren remains an existential threat to his candidacy. Sanders advisers are loath to acknowledge this reality, even privately.”
Van Jones: “Sanders re-established himself as trying to lead the revolution. When Elizabeth Warren is trying to lead the country. She is trying to be president of the United States.”
Boston Globe: “With a little more than six months to go until the 2020 New Hampshire primary, Sanders can no longer take the state for granted. He has gone from being the unquestioned front-runner to second place — and sliding.”
Politico: “If Bernie Sanders’ team had its way, every reporter covering the Vermont senator would put out a tweet disclosing their unvarnished, personal feelings about the candidate.”
“It’s not going to happen, but campaign manager Faiz Shakir thinks he knows what it would reveal anyway.”
Said Shakir: “This isn’t intended to be a sweeping generalization of all journalists, but there are a healthy number who just find Bernie annoying, discount his seriousness, and wish his supporters and movement would just go away.”
Politico: “In poll after poll, Sanders appeals to lower-income and less-educated people; Warren beats Sanders among those with postgraduate degrees. Sanders performs better with men, Warren with women. Younger people who vote less frequently are more often in Sanders’ camp; seniors who follow politics closely generally prefer Warren.”
“Sanders also has won over more African Americans than Warren: He earns a greater share of support from black voters than any candidate in the race except for Joe Biden, according to the latest Morning Consult surveys.”
“Bernie Sanders may be falling behind some of his rivals in the crowded Democratic presidential field, dipping in early polls and seeing his campaign outraised by at least two rivals. But this week, he opened a new campaign office here and is already investing in states holding primaries eight months away,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The message from the Vermont senator: I’m not going anywhere.”
Politico: “Even though the Sanders team would never call it a ‘reset,’ his aides are sharpening a new line of attack against his rivals and experimenting with different ways to connect with hard-to-reach voters as the race heats up. They’re also continuing to shift from big rallies to more intimate events in the nation’s early states, such as ice cream socials and selfie lines — an acknowledgment that Sanders needs to adopt a more personal approach and participate in additional retail politicking to win.”
“And even Sanders’ allies admit that he faces unique difficulties in 2020: Unlike in 2016, many of Sanders’ opponents have adopted major planks of his platform, giving voters more than one progressive candidate to choose from in the race. In recent weeks, some Sanders supporters have questioned if he should take a different approach in the debates, after not participating in mock sessions while prepping for the first showdown and ultimately failing to take on Biden in a memorable way.”
When asked if he would commit to supporting the Democratic nominee if it’s clear it won’t be him, Sen. Bernie Sanders would not make any such commitment to NBC News.
Instead, he talked about his 2016 race: “Some people say that maybe if the system was not rigged against me, I would have won the nomination.”
Jonathan Chait: “While Sanders is coyly hiding behind the ‘some people say’ formulation, he is threatening to repeat the tactics he used in 2016, when he called the process ‘rigged’ and withheld his support long after the outcome was decided.”
“As a presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has often defended his vote for a controversial 1994 crime bill as a hold-your-nose compromise that included measures popular within the Democratic Party, such as a ban on assault weapons. As a result, Sanders’ support for the massive anti-crime package hasn’t come under the same level of scrutiny that has at times stuck to other Democratic candidates,” NBC News reports.
“But an NBC News review of his past statements shows that Sanders also backed some of the legislation’s key get-tough-on-crime provisions, which he now says ‘created a very broken system,’ — a part of his public record that may surprise some Sanders supporters.”
Jonathan Bernstein: “After the 2016 election, I’m not counting anyone out. That said: I think it’s starting to sink in that Senator Bernie Sanders is right at the fringes of plausibility. At best.”
“That’s what I’m seeing from the mainstream media, some liberal bloggers and sophisticated polling analysis. Recent Iowa polls show Sanders at about 15%, essentially in a three-person race for second place with Senator Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg. That’s for a candidate who won half the vote there in 2016.”
“And while Sanders is faring somewhat better nationally, that’s mainly because almost all the other candidates remain unknown to voters. As Nate Silver points out, only about 8% of Democrats say they’re definitely supporting Sanders. In other words, it’s entirely plausible that Sanders could fail to reach the delegate threshold in Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina (and possibly New Hampshire).”
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called for an impeachment inquiry against President Trump, becoming the tenth 2020 presidential hopeful to do so, The Hill reports.
Said Sanders: “I believe the Judiciary Committee should begin impeachment inquiries. That is inquiries, not impeachment, to determine whether or not Trump has committed impeachable offenses.”
Associated Press: “Three months into his second presidential campaign, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is struggling with some of the same challenges that sank his last bid: doubts about his electability, worries about support from minority voters and an opponent with deep ties to the party establishment.”
The Hill: Democrats worry Sanders could play spoiler.
Politico: “This time around, the candidate with an aversion to schmoozing and a reputation as a loner in the Senate is bowing to a side of politics he’s long despised. Sanders is making dozens of calls each week to elected officials, labor leaders and party chiefs, according to his aides. In between his rallies, he regularly meets with politicians behind closed doors. And surrogates including Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), the co-chair of his campaign, are aggressively courting House members to get on board.”
“All of that is standard fare for a top-tier presidential campaign, but it represents a major shift for Sanders. His willingness to step up his efforts to win institutional support is the latest sign that he recognizes that shunning the Democratic establishment might work for a long-shot outsider campaign, but won’t cut it if he truly wants to win the nomination.”
PBS: Sanders’ 2020 challenges look a lot like 2016
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) spoke with Sydney Ember of the New York Times:
NYT: In the top of our story, we talk about the rally you attended in Managua and a wire report at the time said that there were anti-American chants from the crowd.
SANDERS: The United States at that time — I don’t know how much you know about this — was actively supporting the Contras to overthrow the government. So that there’s anti-American sentiment? I remember that, I remember that event very clearly.
NYT: You do recall hearing those chants? I think the wire report has them saying, “Here, there, everywhere, the Yankee will die.”
SANDERS: They were fighting against American —— Huh huh —— yes, what is your point?
NYT: I wanted to ——
SANDERS: Are you shocked to learn that there was anti-American sentiment?
NYT: Do you think if you had heard that directly, you would have stayed at the rally?
SANDERS: I think Sydney, with all due respect, you don’t understand a word that I’m saying.
“Bernie Sanders — who swore off big-money fundraisers and criticized Hillary Clinton’s fundraising as ‘obscene’ during the 2016 campaign — is changing his approach as the scramble for Democratic campaign cash heats up,” Politico reports.
“The Vermont senator has decided to hold in-person fundraising events where donors of all means will be invited and the media will be allowed. He has also hired a fundraiser to oversee the effort, a position he did not have in his 2016 bid.”