A cynical, but perhaps realistic, argument has been embedded in Sanders’s campaign from the start: He’s the most electable because he’ll get all the people who would vote against Trump no matter who the Democratic nominee is. But he’s also the only one who will be able to activate an entirely different faction of voters. This assumes that all those anti-Trump voters will turn out for him. But although right now everyone is talking party unity, the Never Sanders whispers can be heard among people who would have called themselves “good Democrats” in any other cycle.
The Sanders campaign is already suspicious of what the party has in store. Nina Turner, a campaign co-chair, expressed skepticism after all the candidates onstage at Wednesday’s debate said they would support whoever the nominee is. “Yeah, that’s what they say,” Turner told me, and went on to repeatedly point out that Sanders campaigned for Clinton after losing to her in the 2016 primary race. “Actions speak louder than words,” she said.
Turner said that if Sanders is the nominee, the party will have to support his agenda on health care, economic policy, and more. “If Senator Sanders wins the primary, he did get the majority,” Turner said. What if he doesn’t get a majority? I asked her. She barely paused. “If he gets 40 and somebody else gets 15, he will get the plurality of it. So we’re going to roll.”