Given the millennial enthusiasm he boasted in 2016, Bernie Sanders is a likely 2020 presidential candidate. He just has one problem; many of his 2016 campaign staffers have already jumped ship and don’t plan on joining the 2020 campaign if it happens.
While Democratic socialists like Alexandra Ocasio Cortez are becoming darlings of the Democratic Party, it’s only in far-left NYC districts that a candidate like her is viable. At the national level, that’s another story.
Of potential Democrat 2020 candidates, while the candidacies of Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and Cory Booker seem to be the inevitable ones, it’s actually Joe Biden who polls best. And showing their increasing inclination towards socialism (more Democrats prefer socialism to capitalism), Bernie is the second most popular.
Poll of Democrats for 2020 primary field:
• Joe Biden: 33%
• Bernie Sanders: 13%
• Kamala Harris: 9%,
• Elizabeth Warren: 8%.
• Cory Booker: 5%
• John Kerry: 5% https://t.co/rHpZZH6sTI
— Frank Luntz (@FrankLuntz) October 14, 2018
In part, some of Bernie’s staffers leaving is a phenomenon of the left eating itself. “I think that if a younger candidate can pick up the mantle and have Bernie’s support, I think that would be a better option for 2020. I feel like 60 to 70 percent of former staffers are looking around for another Bernie-esque candidate this time around, even if it’s not him,” said Daniel Deriso (a field organizer for Sanders’ 2016 campaign) to Politico. Unlike others, he did say that he’d still work for Bernie if asked to.
Those other staffers included
- Keegan Goudiss, Sanders’ digital advertising director in 2016: “All the former staff I’ve talked to agree Bernie should focus on making sure the nominee is someone who continues what he started. It’s a sure thing that he will be able to influence 2020 from the outside. But if he decides to run, I doubt many former staffers will return unless directly asked to. Either way, he misses capturing energy if he doesn’t decide soon.”
- Claire Sandberg, a senior campaign aide for Sanders in 2016, indicated support for Pocahontas over Sanders: “I’m sure Elizabeth Warren knows all the people she’d appoint to the [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] and the Treasury Department, but I want to know what she’s going to do on climate change. We need a candidate who understands that that’s an existential threat, and frankly he’s the only candidate who has shown that level of vision.”
- Michaeleen Earle Crowell, Sanders’ longtime chief of staff, left Sanders’ Senate office this past summer to work for a private lobbying firm.
- Sanders’ communications director in 2016, Michael Briggs said in a text message to Politico that it was unlikely he’d join a 2020 run.
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And interestingly enough, Sanders’ 2020 prospects won’t be getting an endorsement from a socialist rising star, and alum of his campaign:
She’s Bern-ed out https://t.co/fXw1yDYex1
— New York Post (@nypost) October 18, 2018
Bernie weighed in on his 2020 presidential ambitions back in June, saying he’d weigh in at an “appropriate time.”
It’s still not confirmed whether or not Bernie will be running in 2020, but his candidacy would be a disaster in a national election. While socialism may poll well among Democrats, it doesn’t poll well where it matters most (among everyone else). On that note, perhaps Republicans should be his most enthusiastic encouragers to run in 2020.
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