by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Republicans, including the president, … are cheering Sanders on against the media and Democratic leadership. In The Bernie vs. The Rest primary battle, a good number of GOP politicos see a win in Democratic corruption, cannibalism, and potentially party civil war. In the title match, they predict a win-win — running against a battered and weakened moderate or an easily dispatched and radical socialist.
There are both troubling political and economic reasons, however, that a win against Sanders is far from assured.
Politically, Sanders’s rise, his supporters, and the national mood he is running in mirror the president’s circumstances four years ago. …
… Among supporters, there’s a ring to “I am Bernie Sanders” that “I am not Bernie Sanders” lacks. The former fills young and old voters alike with feverish excitement, while the latter is an uninspiring reflection — yet Sanders’ primary opponents cling to it like some triumphant standard. The difference between charisma and supporters has been visible since weeks before the Iowa caucuses, with Sanders packing rallies while “front-runner” Biden and others struggled to gather interested locals.
Even today, with larger and larger crowds gathering for most of the candidates, Bernie’s crowds easily eclipse the competition. His supporters aren’t looking for an alternative to a candidate, they’re looking for an alternative to the status quo, and they’re highly motivated by this.