Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) seems to be losing steam — and doubling down on what he knows best to regain it.
On Wednesday, Sanders gave a lengthy speech outlining what he means when he says he’s a “democratic socialist.” It was chock full of historical references and mentions of President Trump, but, as some Sanders supporters and Democratic strategists suggest, may have been more aimed at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).
Sanders and Warren are often seen as progressive equivalents, except for when Warren declares herself a capitalist and Sanders sticks to socialism. Despite that ideological difference, Warren has seemingly been the only Democratic presidential candidate gaining steam over the past few weeks, and it has largely come at Sanders’ expense. In fact, an Economist/YouGov poll released just an hour before Sanders’ Wednesday speech showed Warren had 19 percent support in the 2020 race over Sanders’ 15 percent. Sanders had been at a solid second place to former Vice President Joe Biden before that.
This the first major poll where Warren has managed to pass Sanders, and to Democratic strategist and former White House Communications Director Jen Psaki, it’s just what Sanders was worried about. His Wednesday speech “is a pretty clear indication he is feeling the heat from Elizabeth Warren’s recent momentum among progressive voters,” Psaki told The New York Times, calling it Sanders’ “attempt to reclaim the anticapitalist mantle he ran on in 2016.”
Even before Wednesday’s poll debuted, it didn’t seem Warren was too worried about whatever socialist rhetoric Sanders had cooked up. When The Atlantic asked her about Sanders’ forthcoming speech the other day, she laughed. Kathryn Krawczyk