Ethics & Public Policy Center

Don’t Be Surprised If Sanders Becomes the Kingmaker of the Convention

Published in The Washington Post on October 16, 2019


Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rejoined the campaign trail in Tuesday night’s debate for the first time since his heart attack this month. During his time convalescing, conventional wisdom has effectively ruled him out as a potential nominee and concluded that he will have to drop out if, as polls suggest, he fails to win any of the four early contests. His huge third-quarter fundraising haul — combined with the Democratic delegate rules — show why this wisdom might be wrong.

Sanders’s $25.3 million in new contributions last quarter shows that his backers’ enthusiasm has not dimmed. He continues to rake in more money from his committed band of 1 million small-donor loyalists despite slipping in national polls. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) may have surged in support among Democratic progressives at Sanders’s expense, but that has not yet impacted his appeal to his base.

This enthusiasm gives Sanders what other candidates whose support flags don’t: staying power. Rather than spend time and effort chasing big-dollar donors whose support is often contingent on good poll numbers, Sanders can actively campaign secure in the knowledge that his army will keep sending political ammo. It also contributes to good press, as the media won’t be writing about a campaign on death watch as fundraising numbers disappoint.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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