There’s one potentially game-changing variable, as Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party has shown us: A big Sanders win could change the political fault lines, if moderate Democrats become less likely to vote against him for fear of alienating the Democratic base.

Sanders’ advisers say any Democratic president would face similar obstacles, even with a more moderate agenda. But they argue that Sanders can break through them by mobilizing pressure from his supporters and using the budget rules to give him enough leverage to end the cycle of opposition.

“He has a theory of how to do that — not just building a movement, but using it to pass legislation,” said Josh Orton, national policy director for the Sanders campaign.

If that sounds like a stretch, Orton said, “it certainly is more likely than just hoping Mitch McConnell suddenly comes to his senses” and allows more moderate Democratic policies to pass.