‘Stop Sanders’ Democrats Are Agonizing Over His Momentum – The New York Times
âBernie Sanders believes the most critical mission we have before us is to defeat Donald Trump,â said Faiz Shakir, Mr. Sandersâs campaign manager. âAny and all decisions over the coming year will emanate from that key goal.â
Or, as former Senator Claire McCaskill put it: âOne thing we have now that we didnât in â16 is the uniting force of Trump. There will be tremendous pressure on Bernie and his followers to fall in line because of what Trump represents.â
But Mr. Sanders is also taking steps that signal he is committed for the duration of the race â and will strike back aggressively when heâs attacked. On Saturday his campaign sent a blistering letter to the Center for American Progress, a Clinton-aligned liberal think tank, accusing them of abetting Mr. Trumpâs attacks, of playing a âdestructiveâ role in Democratic politics, and of being beholden to âthe corporate moneyâ they receive. The letter came days after a website aligned with the center aired a video highlighting Mr. Sandersâs status as a millionaire.
With other mainline party leaders, he is offering more honey than vinegar.
Last month, for example, he used his first trip to Iowa as a 2020 candidate to quietly meet with Jeff Link, a veteran party strategist, and Patty Judge, the former state agriculture secretary, to discuss rural policy and politics, according to a Democrat familiar with the meeting. Mr. Sandersâs campaign also reached out to Randi Weingarten, the head of the American Federation of Teachers and a top Clinton ally in 2016, to have her join them at what they dubbed an âOhio workers town hallâ on Sunday.
âIf anybody thinks Bernie Sanders is incapable of doing politics, they havenât seen him in Congress for 30 years,â said Tad Devine, Mr. Sandersâs longtime strategist, who is not working for his campaign this year. âThe guy is trying to win this time.â
But such outreach matters little to many Democrats, especially donors and party officials, who are growing more alarmed about Mr. Sandersâs candidacy.