Sanders Starting to Accept Reality?

Some internal cracks in terms of continuing?

“Bernie Sanders 2016” by Shelly Prevost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

WaPo reports: Some top Sanders advisers urge him to consider withdrawing

A small group of Bernie Sanders’s top aides and allies — including his campaign manager and his longtime strategist — have encouraged the independent senator from Vermont to consider withdrawing from the presidential race, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

The group includes campaign manager Faiz Shakir and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a top Sanders surrogate and ally, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive private discussions.

Sanders himself has become more open to the prospect of dropping out, according to one of the people with knowledge of the situation and another close ally, especially if he suffers a significant defeat in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, which polls suggest Joe Biden will win handily.

Quite frankly, I find Sanders’ insistence on staying in the race to be irresponsible on a number of levels. For one, if he truly wants Trump defeated in November, the sooner the opposition coalesces around Biden the better. While I recognize the Biden has not mathematically sewn up the nomination, the reality is that Sanders’ chances are all but nil.

For another, the Covid-19 situation just makes running a pointless campaign all the more pointless.

Time and resources need to be out into what is important and efficacious, but for quixotic pursuits.

A side note, due to my ongoing interest in the party dynamic here, this was worth pointing out:

The split in Sanders’s inner circle to some degree reflects the hybrid nature of his political identity as both a traditional politician and a movement leader. Advisers with stronger ties to the Democratic Party have been more vocal in urging him to contemplate a withdrawal, while independent activists have been pushing for Sanders to remain in the race.

Along those lines, a parting note:

Cohen, for example, is one of the latter. “Millions of people are counting on him to be on the ballot so they can vote for that alternative vision that they support,” Cohen said. “And if he was not on the ballot, they will feel abandoned.”

First, all losing precandidates disappoint a lot of people, but at some point, they have to drop out. Second, does he really want to encourage millions of supporters to go vote for no effect reason other than to avoid feeling abandoned in the middle of a pandemic? That’s a bit nuts, I must say.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. CSK says:

    “A future to believe in…” I’m sure I’m not the only person who finds that a difficult concept to grasp, given the current situation.

  2. Mike says:

    Who? Time for the grumbling old man to be quiet. This isn’t the time for rants about grandiose ideas that will never come to fruition.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    Given that the $2T relief bill has tripled the deficit and that is just the beginning, Sanders pet programs have even less chance of being enacted.

    Even if you’re a true believer in modern monetary theory, there is a point where the debt will even break that. Tiny’s debt and that left over from the recession didn’t effect interest rates because there was so much money sloshing around in the economy. That wealth evaporated when the market crashed, so we are likely looking at 5-8% interests rates when the economy returns. Inflation makes things cheaper.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    Sanders has a legitimate power base and he can chose to use that to forward the ideas that he claims are paramount. Or he can squander it on a futile and bitter attempt to wrest the candidacy from Biden, strengthening Trump in the process. The choice is his.

  5. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: predictions of high interest rates have been going strong for decades.

  6. Sleeping Dog says:


    I know they have. Interest rates have stayed low because there was a lot of money in the economy. When the market dropped 30% that capital cushion disappeared.

  7. Matt says:

    Couple weeks ago I started seeing posts from Bernie fans about how they would refuse to vote for Biden. Because according to them there’s no difference between Biden and Trump…

    I am somewhat (very little) sympathetic as Biden’s outright rejection of healthcare systems that are used by other first world countries to produce superior results for cheaper is outright infuriating. Then there’s his insistence that marijuana is a gateway drug which has “evolved” into basically “there’s no evidence it’s not a gateway drug” in November. Sure he backed off that some after rightfully being attacked for it. He’s still parroting the law and order talking point that there isn’t enough science to know for sure. Biden just seems stuck in the past and is pushing for policies that have failed this country for decades. It’s easy to see Biden as a continuation of the institutional problems we have in this country.

    Then there’s Trump who is worse in every manner..

    For whatever reason for some Bernie fans it’s all or nothing and that just doesn’t seem productive for getting any changes done at all. It would help if Bernie would actually start being a team player..

  8. mattbernius says:

    Even if they don’t particularly like Biden’s policies, the reality is that they should be voting for him based on the Supreme Court alone. Either that or we will be facing a Conservative majority on the court for at least a generation.

    And said majority will more or less ensure that any sweeping social reforms — even if they were successfully passed — would be eaten away by the judiciary.

  9. KM says:


    For whatever reason for some Bernie fans it’s all or nothing and that just doesn’t seem productive for getting any changes done at all. It would help if Bernie would actually start being a team player..

    Because Bernie fans are more interested in ideals then practical applications, much like the man himself. Bernie could be in Congress pushing for better healthcare options for all, seeing as how this situation is proof our current system needs work. Instead, he wants to be the Big Boss who Tells Everyone What He Wants rather then be one of the people who would help craft that legislation. One position is lecturing others about your ideals and telling others how to enact your Vision and the other involves hard work, cooperating and compromising to achieve that Vision. Guess which sounds more appealing?

  10. Barry says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “I know they have. Interest rates have stayed low because there was a lot of money in the economy. When the market dropped 30% that capital cushion disappeared.”

    In 2007-09, we watched US government rates stay very low.

    We are seeing the same thing now, and for the same reason – the US government is a haven of safety.

    Finally, I refuse to play the GOP game of them running up the deficits, and then Democratic administrations are bound to get it under control, paying the political price, and then seeing the GOP destroy the work.