Less than a month before voting begins, Obama has declined to offer a preferred pick to take on President Trump in 2020, only occasionally waxing philosophical about the perils of moving too far left and reminding voters to be “rooted in reality” when exploring nominee options. But as Sanders gained new flashes of traction in recent weeks, the former president’s lack of official guidance to halt his momentum, and the scattering of his inner circle to rival campaigns, have hampered any meaningful NeverBernie movement.
Indeed, the most striking aspect of Obamaworld’s response to Sanders on the rise—flush with cash, an uptick in the polls, and unusually frequent hat tips about the merits of his character from his rivals—is the lack of a cohesive one.
Seasoned Obama operatives who spoke to The Daily Beast concede that Sanders is likely to be a major player through the end of the primary, with several agreeing there’s little to no consolidation around one anointed candidate to blunt his momentum. In fact, while pointing to his massive cash hauls and loyal base of supporters, the thinking among Democrats close to the former president is that they are hoping the Vermont Independent flames out on his own.