Democrats worry Bernie Sanders could play spoiler

Democrats are worried that if he doesn’t win the party’s presidential nomination himself, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will be a thorn in the side of the Democratic nominee for president — especially if it’s former Vice President Joe Biden.

The Democrats worry that Sanders won’t be a team player if he loses, and that he and his supporters will be particularly problematic if Biden or another rival seen as out of step with progressives comes out on top.

“I think Bernie will do everything in his power to elevate himself by pushing others down,” said one aide to a Democratic senator.

A senior aide to a second Democratic senator said concerns about Sanders dividing the party next year are widely held, even though everyone in the Senate Democratic Conference is holding their tongue for fear of making things even worse.

The aide said that when it comes to Sanders, there is a concern among Biden supporters that “this guy is going to play spoiler again.” 

The worries follow a bitter 2016 primary fight between Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who won the nomination and then was defeated by President Trump in the Electoral College.

Some Democrats have blamed Sanders in part for that outcome, arguing he stayed in the primary against Clinton too long and that he did not do enough to bring his supporters on board in November.

For their part, Sanders supporters are suspicious of a Democratic establishment they think rigged the game against their candidate in 2016.

They also say those wringing their hands over Sanders are being disrespectful by assuming he won’t win. They note he isn’t far behind Biden in national polls or those in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), a national co-chair of Sanders’s campaign, said he “has a very good chance of being the nominee.”

READ MORE: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/445859-democrats-worry-bernie-sanders-could-play-spoiler

 

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