Is this a real leak or is it just the Sanders camp flexing on Biden a bit? The Post frames it as a leak, i.e. unnamed people close to Sanders say he’s worried Biden is about to blow the election. But I’m not completely convinced:
Sanders, the runner-up to Biden in the Democratic primary, has told associates that Biden is at serious risk of coming up short in the November election if he continues his vaguer, more centrist approach, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive talks.
The senator has identified several specific changes he’d like to see, saying Biden should talk more about health care and about his economic plans, and should campaign more with figures popular among young liberals, such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)…
But Sanders has come to worry about the Biden campaign’s prospects, even as the Democratic nominee leads Trump in the national polls, associates said…
The people familiar with Sanders’s private conversations said he has a expressed a sentiment that the liberal, millennial slice of the party has not received the attention its merits.
I can believe that Sanders isn’t happy with the moderate tone Biden is taking but the fact that he has put together “specific changes” makes this sound more like a planned leak than an accidental one.
Here’s what Sanders’s spokesman said about this: “Senator Sanders is confident that Joe Biden is in a very strong position to win this election, but nevertheless feels there are areas the campaign can continue to improve upon. He has been in direct contact with the Biden team and has urged them to put more emphasis on how they will raise wages, create millions of good paying jobs, lower the cost of prescription drugs and expand health care coverage.”
In other words, Sanders has already delivered this message to the Biden campaign and it seems it wasn’t well received, at least not to Sanders’ satisfaction. So what do you do when the Biden people aren’t listening to your concerns? You rattle them a bit with a “leak” saying Sanders is nervous that Biden is blowing the election. I’d be willing to bet the Biden campaign placed a call to Sanders this morning not long after this story was published. Suddenly, Sanders has their full and complete attention.
Let’s face it. Biden is a tough pill to swallow for the far left because he sounds pretty moderate. Recently Biden has been condemning riots and looting to stifle Trump’s “law & order” message. You can bet that AOC and others on the far left don’t like hearing any criticism of the “uprising.” So I think what we’re seeing here is a warning, i.e. if you want to run a law & order jr. campaign you better give those of us on the left something else to get excited about. The or else isn’t even implied, it’s being stated: Or else you’re going to lose.
That’s what I think is happening but there is one other possibility. Maybe Sanders is genuinely freaking out. Sanders is an ideologue but he’s also a guy that riles up crowds of people (especially younger people) with fiery speeches, not unlike Trump. And you look at Biden trying to read answers off a teleprompter or just bumbling through interviews and generally looking old. It’s enough to put some genuine fear into the heart of any populist.