Hillary: Bernie wouldn't be our strongest nominee, no

I continue not to understand why she bears him such a grudge. She won their face-off in 2016. He ended up endorsing her. He campaigned for her. If the Berniebros tipped the scales to Trump in Rust Belt states by voting for Jill Stein or staying home, well, that’s not Sanders’s fault. So what’s her problem? Can she simply not let go of the resentment that he primaried her in the first place? Watch, then read on.

Right, I know, she’s not attacking him in claiming that he’d be a weak nominee. That’s a perfectly defensible position. But there are arguments to the contrary too, of course, starting with the (increasingly far-fetched) idea that he’s going to unleash a tidal wave of disaffected young voters on Election Day. She could have remained agnostic when asked about this, allowing that the question is debatable.

But no. And in the context of what she claimed a few weeks ago about how supposedly nobody in the Senate likes Sanders, it’s hard to take what she says here as a dispassionate analysis of his relative chances. What’s her problem?

And, relatedly: If she’s going to talk Bernie down, why doesn’t she cowboy up and just flatly endorse Biden already? She’s not Obama, the well-liked prince of the party who’s obliged to remain neutral lest his expression of royal will influence the outcome of the race. She could move a few votes among Hillary diehards insofar as there are any out there and they haven’t already committed to Joe. So why doesn’t she? Susan Rice, another Obama administration veteran, endorsed him yesterday. Samantha Power is climbing down off the fence today:

Some quality endorsements for Joe in the past 24 hours!

Maybe Hillary’s holding off until March 17, when four states are on the menu — Florida, Ohio, Illinois, and Arizona — that she took from Sanders in 2016. Biden’s a safe bet to win them this year. If she endorses him right before then, there’s minimal risk that he’ll lose a tight race somewhere and she’ll be blamed for the “kiss of death” or whatever.

Of course, there’s always the chance that Team Joe has *asked* her not to endorse. But even though she was highly unpopular nationally when Gallup checked in 2018, she still scored a reasonably strong 77 percent favorable rating within her own party. Maybe Biden fears that, although she’s generally well-liked among Democrats, the left hates her sufficiently at this point as a longstanding Bernie antagonist and embodiment of the corporate establishment that she might become a rallying point for progressives to boost turnout against him.

Meh, who cares? There are other critics of Sanders worth paying attention to today. For instance, here’s Elizabeth Warren finally finding the nerve to attack Bernie because, unlike her, he’s honest about the fact that Medicare for All will require tax hikes on the middle class. Which it certainly will.