As you may have noticed, Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is rising steadily in polls. And as a result, rumors have started to swirl that his success is making former President Barack Obama very nervous, nervous enough, in fact, to possibly even consider making a public statement warning about the socialist’s rise.
Fox Business correspondent Charles Gasparino posted this on Thursday after hearing such rumors.
“SCOOP: Dem Party sources who have spoken w (Barack Obama) say former prez is growing increasingly anxious about (Bernie Sanders’) rise in national polls & where the avowed socialist would take the country; he is considering a public statement addressing it more now.”
And while the truth of this is not currently known, the idea behind it is not necessarily unfounded.
While both Obama and Sanders technically belong to the same party, there is little that connects them on just about any issue. Obama has and likely always will be a centrist. In contrast, Bernie Sanders is just about as far to the left as there is.
And it is no secret that Obama is not a fan of some of Bernie’s major platform ideas, namely the notion to do away with Obamacare and implement a single-payer healthcare option. Obama’s legacy, and namesake, was once considered to be a great accomplishment for the party, but as the party seems to move farther leftward, it is instead being taken as a betrayal of sorts to many progressives who think it gives into a corporate America that shouldn’t exist.
Up until now, both sides of the argument have played relatively nicely. Obama has said he will not endorse nor go against any particular candidate. And socialists, like Sanders and his protégé AOC, still seem to have a great deal of respect for the former president and his experience, at least in public. However, as the election draws ever closer and Bernie’s likeability goes up, things may change rather quickly.
Obama has already been caught saying things that could be considered jabs at the socialist candidate.
For example, in November, CNBC reported, “While he didn’t mention any specific presidential primary candidate or proposal, Obama warned that the average American voter does not align with views from ‘certain left-leaning Twitter feeds or the activist wing of our party’… ‘Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality,’ Obama said. ‘The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it.’”
Any ideas on what that could mean?
Furthermore, Politico reported a close adviser of Obama’s saying that while the former president sees “his role as providing guardrails to keep the process from getting too ugly and to unite the party when the nominee is clear,” he also said that “if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him.”
Since then, Obama, like Hillary Clinton, has said that he would endorse whoever won the nomination. But we have our doubts.
At the time that this was released, Sanders was running pretty even with Senator Elizabeth Warren for second place in New Hampshire and nationally. And in Iowa, he was in fourth. Now, however, things have changed. He is currently the clear winner of second place nationwide and is leading both in Iowa and New Hampshire, according to a few recent polls.
And while this clearly isn’t a runaway for him yet, it could only be a matter of time before it is. The question is: if Obama is going to say something when will it be?
For many, the answer is now, before he has officially won in early voting states and gained such a lead that others won’t be able to recover from. After all, now, a little more than a week before the Iowa caucus votes is the time to let late deciders know the harm of a Sanders run nation.
And if he does decide to say something against Sanders, why not go ahead and just endorse Biden while he’s at it? After all, Obama has made it pretty clear who his favorite is. If he chooses Biden now, while he still has some semblance of respect from the far left, it may be able to make a difference.
But Obama, as a centrist who has always avoided confrontation, is not likely to say anything about anyone. Better not to ruffle feathers than to make a difference, right?