Former President Barack Obama privately claimed he would intervene in the Democratic primary to stop Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders from clinching the nomination if it looked as if Sanders was close, according to a new Politico report.
One top Obama adviser told the paper that he was unsure whether the former Democratic president would actually speak out against Sanders, but noted that it would be likely if Sanders began to claim a demanding lead in the crowded contest.
“He hasn’t said anything to me…The only reason I’m hesitating is at all is because, yeah, if Bernie were running away with it, I think maybe we would all have to say something. But I don’t think that’s likely. It’s not happening,” the source said.
Another top Obama adviser voiced more doubt over the former president intervening to stop any single candidate.
“I can’t even imagine with this field how bad it would have to be for him to say something,” the adviser told Politico.
Obama also privately raised concerns over Biden’s ability to make it through the nomination, citing his former number two’s lack of connection with voters on the campaign trail, specifically in Iowa. Politico reports that during one conversation with a candidate, Obama noted during his 2008 campaign that he developed an “intimate bond with the electorate,” that dissipated after the election, and added that Biden has failed to cultivate it just months away from the first state contest. “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden,” Obama said.
President Donald Trump’s predecessor has notably remained quiet as the primary for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination rages on with little more than two months to go until the Iowa caucuses, though there are some signs that his silence may be changing.
During a speech to wealthy liberal donors earlier this month, Obama cautioned Democrats lurching to the left at lightning speed.
“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision we also have to be rooted in reality. The average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it,” Obama said.
Still, despite the warning, Democrats seeking their party’s coronation in Milwaukee as the nominee next year have shown little willingness to slow down their run to the left, doubling down on socialist proposals just days later at the fifth Democratic debate in Atlanta.
Polls show that continuing their calls for the radical creation for a socialist welfare state are likely to bear an electoral cost. A new survey released from the Heartland Institute/Rasmussen on Tuesday shows that just 26 percent of likely voters said they would vote for a candidate who identified as a socialist. The same survey illustrated high unfavorable ratings for Senators Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, both of whom have embraced socialist agendas with 49 and 48 percent respectively.
Obama has continued to offer his advice to any candidate, including Sanders, wishing to meet or speak with the former president.