Democratic mega-donors are starting to worry about a Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) nomination and are calling on party leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to make critical endorsements against Sanders in an effort to curtail the Vermont socialist’s rise.
CNBC reported Thursday that Bernard Schwartz, who has given and bundled millions for Democratic candidates over the last several decades, has reached out personally to Schumer and Pelosi to beg them to press a more moderate candidate, “in the hope that voters will follow their lead and end up denying Sanders the party’s presidential nomination.”
They haven’t picked up the phone.
“We should know who is the best person to beat Donald Trump, and with all due respect, Bernie Sanders cannot beat Trump,” Schwartz told the financial news outlet.
Schwartz says he understands why Schumer and Pelosi may want to stay above the fray — “They have good political reasons not to endorse until the primary is over, but I think we are losing too much if we give up on this position,” he said — but that sometimes it becomes necessary to be involved in the process.
Unfortunately for Schwartz, neither top Democrat seems interested in fracturing the existing fragile piece between the party’s centrists and progressives, forged in the wake of the House impeachment hearings. Both Schumer and Pelosi said this week that they’d be “comfortable” with Sanders at the top of the ticket, according to the Hill.
She was terse, though, in response to the question, answering only, “Yes.”
The pair have been under seige from progressives in Congress. The “squad,” led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) sees Pelosi as a top target and before she was even moved into her own office, Ocasio-Cortez was staging protests outside of Pelosi’s. For Schumer, the threat is looming at home. Ocasio-Cortez is likely to be gerrymandered out of her seat in Congress and, word has it, she’s aiming to primary the New York Democrat for his Senate position.
The New York Times added Thursday that Democratic leaders are considering moving in to stop Sanders if his rise continues, even if it means irreparably fracturing the Democratic Party.
“Dozens of interviews with Democratic establishment leaders this week show that they are not just worried about Mr. Sanders’s candidacy, but are also willing to risk intraparty damage to stop his nomination at the national convention in July if they get the chance,” the NY Times repoted. “Since Mr. Sanders’s victory in Nevada’s caucuses on Saturday, The Times has interviewed 93 party officials — all of them superdelegates, who could have a say on the nominee at the convention — and found overwhelming opposition to handing the Vermont senator the nomination if he arrived with the most delegates but fell short of a majority.”
That’s currently the most likely scenario for July. With so many candidates still in the race — and likely to remain in the race even after Super Tuesday — Sanders probably will not get the full majority of delegates he needs to secure the party’s nomination on the first vote. A second vote activates the so-called “superdelegates,” who could deny Sanders the nomination outright, placing, in the ring, a candidate who may not have competed at all in the primaries (or, more likely, someone like Mike Bloomberg).
The move would throw the process into complete chaos, but it might be worth it, officials say, if it means Democrats keep the House and the Senate can stay in play.
“From California to the Carolinas, and North Dakota to Ohio, the party leaders say they worry that Mr. Sanders, a democratic socialist with passionate but limited support so far, will lose to President Trump, and drag down moderate House and Senate candidates in swing states with his left-wing agenda of ‘Medicare for all’ and free four-year public college,” per the Times.
As it stands, former Vice President Joe Biden is likely to win the next several individual contests, but Sanders is slated to take a majority of delegates available on Super Tuesday, including a large number of California’s 400 delegates.