Bernie Sanders’s bid for the Democratic presidential nomination is in serious trouble.
Yes, I know we still have almost three months to go before voting gets underway. Yes, I’m aware that all those unscientific click-bait Internet polls showed he “won” the Democratic debate two weeks ago. Yes, I have read all the stories about the size of the crowds he draws to his events. And yes, I am also aware that polls show him catching up to Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire, where a whopping 32 of the 2246 delegates needed to win the nomination will be at stake.
But if you want to know any of the reasons why Sanders is in trouble, you can start with the news yesterday that Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown has endorsed Clinton. As Matt Yglesias points out, Brown would be perhaps the most natural endorsement for Sanders in the entire Senate. He is an old-school liberal, pro-union and anti-free trade. Ideologically and personally, he and the senator from Vermont are very close. They have worked together on writing and introducing legislation as recently as earlier this month.
Yet Brown joined 33 of his Senate colleagues who have already endorsed Clinton.
The writer notes that Brown could simply be positioning himself for a VP nod from Hillary and that the party elite are lining up in a hurry behind her.
What it doesn’t discuss is the fact that Sanders refused to hit Hillary on her biggest vulnerabilities in the debate. First, he fell in line with the same party elites that he should be battling when he gave her a pass on the email scandal. Then he ignored the wealth she has accumulated from political connections, which makes all of his ranting about the dangers of an oligarchy in America seem disingenuous at best.
Salon praises Sanders for running an important campaign that is forcing the conversation leftward. Republicans who have seen candidates dance to the right during primaries then take a jet back to the middle as soon as they’re elected know that this ultimately is an empty effort.
If Sanders really felt that he was on a mission to change things he wouldn’t have gone for a laugh line about something that is important enough for the FBI to be investigating. Instead of being a bold idealist, he seems more like a garden-variety politician who just wants attention and applause.