When the Washington Post revealed yesterday that Bernie Sanders’ team had sent out a memo about the possibility of him running for president again in 2024, they framed it as something like a leak of insider information:
The memo was shared by a person with direct knowledge of its contents on the condition of anonymity because it was not released publicly, and confirmed by a second person with direct knowledge of the contents…
“While it’s frustrating this private memo leaked to the media, the central fact remains true, which is that Senator Sanders is the most popular officeholder in the country,” said Sanders spokesman Mike Casca, when asked for comment. Casca and the memo based that assertion on a recent poll.
Well, it turns out that was all staging. In fact, Team Sanders composed and released the memo with Bernie’s approval as a way to get his name back into the 2024 speculation.
A person close to the process said Sanders approved the concept and execution of the memo.
“I know people who got it who weren’t Bernie staff, who were other Democrats friendly with Bernieworld but not known as hardcore Bernie-ites,” said a former Sanders campaign aide, who requested anonymity to speak frankly about the memo. “They wanted it out.”
Added another former staffer: “They sent this to people who have relationships across the press because they wanted to make news.”
President Joe Biden has said he plans to campaign for another term, but some Democrats doubt he’ll pull the trigger. He would be 82 years old at the start of a second term, and his current job approval ratings are dismal. In political circles, speculation has been rampant that potential Democratic candidates in an open primary could include Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and even some Sanders allies…
One former top aide dismissed the memo as a “plea to stay relevant and a part of the 2024 conversation should Biden decide not to run again.”
The story goes on to point to this Washington Post analysis piece titled “The top 10 Democratic presidential candidates for 2024, ranked.” That list included AOC (#10), Amy Klobuchar (#5) and Kamala Harris (#3) with Biden himself topping the list. Sen. Sanders wasn’t mentioned at all. I guess things like that bother you when you were the runner up for the Democratic nomination in the last two elections.
But I’m not surprised that this was Sanders yanking the media’s chain. When I was writing about it yesterday I was thinking it seemed a bit off that his team was complaining about a leak despite it basically being a harmless, pro-Sanders story.
That said, I don’t really think Sanders is thinking about running again. Give the guy some credit. Unlike Joe Biden who seems blissfully unaware of how borderline incoherent he comes across at times, I think Sanders realizes he’s too old for another run two years from now. But Sanders would love to see the leftist movement he brought to the forefront in the past two elections continue to grow. He’d like to see AOC or Ro Khanna or some other socialist take what he’s built and win. And keeping that fire burning for whoever is next is probably what this about.