At Real Clear Politics, Charles Lipson explains the dilemma facing the Democrat Party establishment in the face of Bernie Sanders’ strong performance in Iowa. He writes:
The insiders’ dilemma is simple to state but tricky to solve. They think Bernie’s nomination would be an electoral disaster, but they must prevent it without alienating his supporters. They need them to win in November.
As the party’s standard bearer, Bernie would be George McGovern reincarnated. He would not only cost Democrats the White House, he would cost them close races for House and Senate seats. Every Republican would force his Democratic opponent to say if she supported this avowed socialist and his costly, transformational policies. That’s why party pros want to stop Bernie before it’s too late. So does every Democratic candidate outside Berkeley and Ann Arbor.
Their challenge is to do it without estranging Bernie’s ardent followers. The harder insiders work to block Bernie, the less chance they have of keeping Bernie’s people in the General Election. Those voters may not cross over to Trump (although about one in 11 did in 2016), but they could stay home.
Bernie himself would be incandescent with rage if party insiders blocked him. He would direct that fury at the party regulars who sunk him, including the nominee. That’s exactly what he did in 2016, when Hillary actually won more primary votes but also rigged the process with her cronies at the Democratic National Committee.
Bernie was livid at the time—and he would be now if he didn’t think he lost fairly. Actually, he will probably think he was robbed, no matter what. Among happy losers, he ranks alongside Stacey Abrams, Hillary Clinton, and Vince Lombardi. The question is whether his disappointed supporters would coalesce around the eventual nominee, especially a centrist one. That’s still an open question. The party’s best answer would be a strong, charismatic alternative. Right now, they simply don’t have one.
Read more here.