There is little debate that the establishment wing of the Democratic Party conspired to deny Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) the party’s nomination in 2016, and in a roundabout way, it looks like that may be happening again in terms of the 2020 primary race.
After sitting on supposedly “urgent” articles of impeachment for several weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has finally signaled that she’ll soon send them to the Senate for an impeachment trial. Once that trial begins, all senators will be essentially confined to Washington, D.C. for the duration, which means that any senators running for president — including Sanders and a few others — won’t be on the campaign trail in the crucial run-up to the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, The Daily Caller reported.
Just as noteworthy is the fact that, while Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are stuck in D.C. for the impeachment trial, party establishment-aligned candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg will not be similarly constrained and will have free rein to campaign in those vital early-voting states.
Stuck in D.C.
Whether this rather unfortunate timing of a Senate impeachment trial for Sanders and Warren — not to mention Sens. Michael Bennett (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) — was purposeful by Pelosi or not remains to be seen.
However, there is no denying that the impeachment trial, which is expected to last anywhere from two to six weeks, could have an enormous impact on the outcomes of the voting in Iowa and New Hampshire.
Sanders and Warren are the two most prominent “anti-establishment” candidates on the left who are calling for radical changes that will upset the status quo. Their being stuck in D.C. during the final days of campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire will place them at a significant disadvantage to the less radical and more establishment-friendly candidates like Biden and Buttigieg.
Sanders leading the polls — for now
One reason suspicions have been raised by the timing of Pelosi’s release of the articles to the Senate for trial is the fact that Sanders has recently taken a lead in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Sanders had a slim lead in Iowa with 21.3% support, placing him ahead of Buttigieg with 21%, Biden with 17.7%, and Warren with 17%.
Likewise in New Hampshire, the RCP average showed Sanders in first place with 21.5% support over Biden with 18.8%, Buttigieg with 18.3%, and Warren with 14.8%.
Looking more closely at Iowa, where the caucus is only three weeks away, a recent poll by the Des Moines Register, in conjunction with CNN and Mediacom, showed Sanders solidly in first place with 20% support among likely caucusgoers. That poll had Warren in second place with 17% support, Buttigieg in third with 16%, and Biden trailing in fourth with 15% support.
Echoes of 2016
Again, whether intentional or not, Pelosi has consigned Sanders and Warren to basically spend roughly the next month glued to an impeachment trial instead of campaigning in Iowa and New Hampshire ahead of those key early votes. Meanwhile, Biden and Buttigieg will have no such limitations placed on them, and they could potentially overtake the two absent leftist senators in the waning days before votes are cast.
Once again, it looks an awful lot like the Democratic Party establishment is subversively undermining Sanders’ chances at winning the party’s nomination in 2020, a repeat of 2016 that likely won’t sit well with his committed base of supporters.