How the AOC and Omar endorsements could help (or hurt) Sanders

3. The timing was smart for Sanders, and will help to fend off the media narrative that his chances are fading. This is a very pundit-y type of observation, so I’ll be brief. But dropping these endorsements after a fairly strong debate for Sanders1 — and after concerns about the long-term viability of his campaign following his heart attack — strikes me as smart. It could contribute toward a “Bernie comeback!” narrative, especially if Sanders gets a boost in post-debate polls.

4. This is going to intensify intra-left fighting. Want a fairly safe prediction? The primary is going to get nastier. In my read of the various Warren vs. Sanders spats, they’re less about who is further to the left per se and more about how to achieve change, with Warren wanting to work within the Democratic Party and Sanders wanting to upend the Democratic Party and “the system” overall. (To bring about a “political revolution,” as Sanders might say.) One reason I’ve been skeptical about Sanders’s chances of winning the Democratic nomination is that while seeking to upend the system is perfectly valid as a theory of change, it’s a fairly hard way to win a party primary when the party sets the rules, those rules are designed to achieve consensus rather than to reward factional candidates, and voting is restricted in many states to party members. In any event, because Ocasio-Cortez and Omar have a somewhat anti-establishment message — although less so than Sanders himself does — their endorsements are likely to send additional tremors down emerging Sanders-Warren fault lines.