Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lost his composure for a moment Monday night during an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, after Cooper suggested President Donald Trump was on Sanders’ side against what appears to be a monumental effort among the Democratic “Establishment” to deny Sanders the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
Sanders, who is normally emotional on the campaign trail regardless of topic, was particularly incensed at Cooper’s question and addressed President Trump directly, admonishing the Republican to stop meddling in the Democrats’ primary.
“President Trump questioned last night the timing of Buttigieg’s withdrawal, tweeting in part, ‘this is the real beginning of the Dems taking Bernie out of play, no nomination again,'” Cooper noted. “He also tweeted this afternoon, quote, ‘they are staging a coup against you.’ Is he right?”
Sanders, who has often said he believes the Democratic party is actively working against his base of progressives and Democratic socialists told Cooper that, ” You know what, I really wish that the president of the United States might kind of spend his time doing his job, maybe just maybe, he might want to worry about the coronavirus, he might want to worry about the stock market, he might worry about the 500,000 people in this country who are homeless or the massive level of income and wealth inequality that exists.”
“So, President Trump, stay out of the Democratic Primary,” Sanders wailed. “Why don’t you do your job for a change as president. Stop lying. Stop running a corrupt administration. Pay attention to the American people, not just your own political aims.”
Sanders was in the lead for the Democratic Party’s nomination as recently as last week, after a commanding, two-to-one victory in the Nevada caucuses. But his sudden jump in popularity — and the media’s decision to all but crown Sanders the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee — set the party’s wheels in motion. After former Vice President Joe Biden posted a 40-point victory over the Vermont socialist in South Carolina, it seemed Sanders’ fate was sealed.
Democratic bigwigs, including, reportedly, former President Barack Obama himself, burned up the phones Sunday and Monday, pressuring “moderate” Democratic candidates to drop out and consolidate support behind Biden. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg announced the end of his campaign on Sunday. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) dropped out of the race on Monday. The pair endorsed Biden at a rally Monday night in Dallas, Texas. Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke joined the movement behind Biden early Tuesday.
Sanders is left with few friends, but among them, it seems, is the current president. Trump has repeatedly Tweeted warnings to the Vermont socialist these last several weeks, warning him of the coming insurrection.
The president’s rationale, though, isn’t clear. In some ways, it seems Trump does, truly, believe Sanders is about to fall prey to a party apparatus more eager to recapture the White House than admit its base has lurched left. But there is, of course, some added benefit to competing against the vocally socialist Sanders in November, and, barring that, facing off against a Democratic party fractured by an internal civil war.
“Team Trump views Sanders as the weakest candidate left on the Democratic side, and isn’t eager to do anything to impede his rise, several of the president’s past and present political advisers told [the Atlantic],” the outlet reported Monday. “They seem to see Sanders as a no-lose proposition: The president wins whether the senator from Vermont captures the nomination or not.”
“To the extent that a Democratic primary becomes close and maybe Sanders doesn’t get the nomination, there’s a good chance that a reasonable share of his supporters is likely to buy into the thinking that the party had it in for Sanders,” one expert added. “And if that’s the case, some of those people might find it easy to sit out a general election or cast a protest vote.”
Sanders, for his part, doesn’t believe all is lost. His team is hoping to take a commanding lead in the delegate count on Super Tuesday.