Brian Kading, an Iowa resident who is leaning toward supporting Pete Buttigieg, channeled what many Democrats were thinking about Sanders, when he told me in Indianola, “Sometimes I think he’s the only one that can win, because I think he can generate a lot of enthusiasm. And then other times, I think he can be easily painted as too extreme on socialism and will not only lose the presidency, but lose the House and the Senate, and probably even further down the ticket, just, it could be a major disaster for the party.”

So that’s the big risk in nominating Sanders. If this new wave of voters he’s promising does not actually show up in November, the results could be catastrophic.

Yet, should establishment Democrats work to deny Sanders the nomination to stave off this reality, they could be turning away his supporters…

This is the problem for Democrats. Any steps that party elites take to undermine Sanders will only inflame his supporters, who will attribute any loss to him being robbed by the corporate wing of the party. That was on full display at a Friday night Sanders event in Clive, which followed a Politico report that some DNC members had begun discussing a rules change aimed at weakening Sanders.