As Sen. Bernie Sanders continues to rise in polls for early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire and nationally, the Democratic establishment is turning to pleading with voters, attacking the Vermont lawmaker, and plotting a coordinated strike against the campaign as possible avenues of pushback.
But reporting from a number of outlets, including the Daily Beast, indicates that the efforts are thus far amorphous and that the senator’s opponents in the party have yet to settle on a coherent strategy.
“There is, at this stage, calls to, and conversations with, donors and organizations that might support such an effort,” a Democratic source told the Beast. “But as far as I can tell nobody has found sufficient financial support to get it off the ground.”
The senator’s allies urged supporters not to take anything for granted.
“In these last eight days, things are gonna get crazy,” said Sanders surrogate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) during a campaign event Sunday. “I don’t even know what’s gonna happen. And that’s why we’ve gotta stay focused and committed as possible.”
Sanders has risen in the polls in recent weeks, taking the top spot in first-in-the-nation Iowa, which caucuses on Feb. 3, and in New Hampshire, where voters head to the polls on Feb. 11. The Vermont senator is in the top two nationally, trading the number one spot with former Vice President Joe Biden depending on which poll one looks at.
The poll numbers have seen a corresponding increase in stories about the senator’s supporters, disparagingly referred to as “Bernie bros,” or young white men, despite the fact that the senator boasts the most diverse coalition of anyone running for the nomination.
Progressives were skeptical at the line of attack and questioned if it showed a lack of anything substantive to hit Sanders on.
Media critic Adam H. Johnson took particular issue with a New York Times article on the senator’s supporters published Monday morning.
“Another Bernie bros piece in a major publication,” tweeted Johnson. “I count six in the last week. This is what you publish when you got nothing else to publish on the front runner.”
According to NBC News, panic at the probability of a Sanders victory has begun to set in at the executive offices of right-wing Democratic think tank Third Way.
“We issued a warning a year ago that Sanders could win the nomination and would likely lose to Trump,” the group’s vice president Matt Bennett told NBC. “And we’ve been the only ones really taking the fight to him.”
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