A brutal new campaign ad from Democratic Majority for Israel (DMFI), set to air in Iowa, takes on Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), implying that he’ll die on the trail before he ever has the chance to take on President Donald Trump — and, barring that, he’s far too old to take office.
The ad, entitled “Electable,” appears meant to hit Sanders over his far-left policy positions but places the heart attack he suffered late last year while on the campaign trail in Las Vegas, Nevada, front and center.
The ad features six Iowa Democrats who explain why they won’t be voting for Sanders, despite agreeing with him on some issues. Most reference Sanders’ inability to best Trump in key states where more moderate Democrats reside — Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida, for example — but others zero in on Sanders’ age and health.
“I like Bernie, I think he has great ideas, but in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Iowa, they’re just not going to vote for a socialist,” one voter admits. “I just don’t think Bernie can beat Trump.”
“I do have some concerns about Bernie Sanders’s health considering the fact that he did have a heart attack,” adds another.
Sanders heart attack was reportedly mild, and he was released from the hospital within a few days. He returned to the campaign trail just two weeks later and, until the Senate impeachment trial kicked off last week, had been maintaining a grueling pace, pressing as many events as possible into a limited calendar.
For all his faults, Sanders is only a few years older than his top competition. Sanders is 78, which should make voters question whether he’ll survive a term in the White House. But former Vice President Joe Biden is just one year younger at 77. President Donald Trump looks adolescent in comparison at 73. And Sen. Elizabeth Warren, rounding out the top three Democrats contending for the 2020 presidential nomination, is a spry 70.
DMFI is one of the few operations taking on Sanders, however, even though many Democrats have privately admitted to major news organizations that they’re nervous about Sanders’ sudden surge and fear that early successes in Iowa and New Hampshire could put Bernie on track to win the nomination.
That’s DMFI’s primary fear: “We looked at the data and saw that he did have a possibility of getting the nomination and we thought that would be a big mistake,” PAC CEO Mark Mellman told NBC News. “It’s vitally important to defeat Donald Trump and we think Bernie Sanders is not equipped to do that.”
Mellman told NBC that “We have not spoken with, coordinated, discussed” the ad or his PAC’s campaign with any other Democratic strategists, but the Daily Beast, at least, believes that there is an underground effort to fund groups trying to stop Sanders from snagging the nomination.
“A group of loosely affiliated Democratic operatives have been in discussions about putting together an effort to attack Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) should he end up winning next week’s Iowa caucus and, potentially, the New Hampshire primary a week later,” the Daily Beast reported Tuesday.
Those “talks” have yet to produce fruit, since most Democrats are wary of going on the record to oppose Sanders, fearing a backlash from his supporters. But at least one big name — former President Barack Obama — is likely to stand in Sanders’ way. Obama reportedly told a group of Democratic donors late last year that he plans to step in if it appears Sanders is headed to the helm of the party.