Sen. Bernie Sanders is widely considered a top contender for the Democratic Party nomination in 2020, but he doesn’t have the backing of what some politicians rely on as a close ally: his home state paper.
“Bernie Sanders should not run for president. In fact, we beg him not to,” the editorial board of the Barre Montpelier Times Argus writes in a piece published Monday.
The paper dings Sanders for missing “dozens of votes that likely would have helped Vermonters” during his 2016 primary run against eventual nominee Hillary Clinton.
It hammers the Green Mountain State independent for favoring the national media circuit — Stephen Colbert’s late-night show, CNN hits and spots on MSNBC — over talking to local reporters.
“Evidently, microphones here don’t extend far enough,” the board writes.
But most important, the editorial argues, another Sanders campaign in 2020 risks “dividing the well-fractured Democratic Party.” It could split the vote along progressive and moderate lines in 2020 just like his 2016 campaign did.
“There is too much at stake to take that gamble,” the board writes. “If we are going to maintain a two-party system, the mandate needs to be a clear one. There is strength in numbers.”
Sanders garnered 43.1 percent of the overall popular vote in the 2016 Democratic primaries and won 23 contests. He created deep political inroads in Midwestern states, which ended up breaking for Trump in the general election, by cultivating a pro-labor, anti-free trade image. Sanders defeated Clinton in both Michigan and Wisconsin. Trump won them by less than 40,000 votes combined.
Sanders has not announced whether he will run again in 2020, though he has entertained another bid. He won a third Senate term in November’s midterm elections.
“If it turns out that I am the best candidate to beat Donald Trump, then I will probably run,” the Vermont senator told New York magazine after the midterms.
The editorial board of the Times Argus believes that even if Sanders decides he can beat Trump, the 77-year-old should not be the standard-bearer of the progressive movement going forward.
“This comes down to principle over ego,” the board writes. “It is one thing to start a revolution, but at a certain point you need to know when to step out of the way and let others carry the water for you.”
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