Krystal Ball rips report saying Obama would intervene to stop Sanders

Opinion by: Krystal Ball

In a recent Politico magazine profile, Obamaland issued what sure appears to be a warning shot. Apparently, the former president doesn’t intend to weigh in on the Democratic Presidential Primary with one notable caveat, apparently he would have to speak up if Bernie SandersBernie SandersHow can top Democrats run the economy with no business skill? Biden rallies with John Kerry in early primary states Buttigieg campaign says 2000 people attended Iowa rally MORE was on track to win the nomination.

According to Ryan Lizza’s reporting: “Obama said privately that if Bernie were running away with the nomination, Obama would speak up to stop him.”

His aides are also at the ready to speak out about a rising sanders. Here’s Lizza again:

“When it comes to Sanders, I asked one close adviser whether obama would really lay himself on the line to prevent a Sanders nomination. “I can’t really confirm that,” the adviser said. “He hasn’t said that directly to me. The only reason I'm hesitating at all is because, yeah, if Bernie were running away with it, I think maybe we would all have to say something. but I don't think that's likely. it's not happening.” (another close Obama friend said, “Bernie's not a Democrat.”)

“Bernie’s not a Democrat.” Obama aides have apparently been reduced to co-opting the dumbest argument made on Twitter. And they’re right, Bernie’s not a Democrat. What they have never reflected on though is what it says about the Obama Democratic party that the most popular Democratic politician today isn’t even a Democrat?

I mean consider this, as the horrors of the Trump presidency have unfolded, Obama has been largely silent. Whether it’s the muslim ban, the full-throated embrace of white identity politics, or the repugnant child separation policy, Obama has either looked on and said nothing or he’s issued a meek and cautious statement. It says everything that he apparently feels so strongly about a Sanders candidacy that he would come out of hiding and deign to dirty his hands with the rough and tumble world of politics. Heaven forbid we have a Democratic standard bearer who will fight with the insurance industry rather than give them more customers to gouge, who will actually enshrine the right to unionize rather than only paying lip service, who will cancel the medical debt and student debt that are crushing our people.

To those who are looking to upend the status quo, this really is a wake up call though. we should not be so naïve as to think that the Democratic establishment is just going to go quietly into the night.

It’s no accident that this article comes against the backdrop of a decided Sanders surge. When it comes to their confident assertions that Sanders will never be the nominee, methinks the lady doth protest too much. They can’t have missed his rise in the polls.

A brand new Emerson poll out this morning has him in first place in the critical granite state. hilariously timed given that the New York Times just wrote a big piece this week about his struggles there. This poll is part of a trend that has seen Bernie overtaking Warren and gaining ground on Biden nationally and in the early states.

He also has incredible popularity with young people, especially young people of color, the core demographic that gave Obama his victory in 2008. And the commitment of his supporters surpasses all other candidates. It’s no accident that Obama was recently out deriding the activist left to wealthy donors. The ground is being laid for a full on establishment assault of Sanders should he climb any higher and genuinely threaten for the nomination.

What might that look like?

Well, one thing that’s important to realize is that not just Obama, but many of the elite preservers of the status quo in the Democratic party would rather see trump re-elected than Bernie as president. Some of them have said it outwardly. Donny Deutsch gave up the game when he said he’d rather vote for Trump than a socialist. Everyone in the donor class I know is never Bernie. Remember, they’re all making money under trump! that includes Obama, that includes the oligarchs, that includes the professional managerial class. And that’s why Obama, who stayed silent through all sorts of Trump era atrocities, feels that he simply must intervene if Bernie had a shot. After all, nothing would be a bigger repudiation of Obama era politics than for Democrats to nominate Bernie Sanders.

I’m not trying to encourage conspiratorial thinking here but I also think we should be honest about the possibilities. The DNC put their thumb on the scales last time to get their chosen candidate. You’ll recall that Obama intervened in the race for DNC chair to put his friend and ally Tom PerezThomas Edward PerezClinton’s top five vice presidential picks Government social programs: Triumph of hope over evidence Labor’s 'wasteful spending and mismanagement” at Workers’ Comp MORE over the top. Do you really think these people have any qualms about intervening in any way they can to keep control of the levers of power and preserve the status quo? As one example of what could be in the works, Alex {areene recently wrote an intriguing take on Deval PatrickDeval PatrickBooker campaign rakes in million after Harris exits 2020 race Krystal Ball: New Biden ad is everything that's wrong with Democrats Steve Bullock exits: Will conservative Democrats follow? MORE’s candidacy. In the current primary race dynamic, Deval’s candidacy has absolutely no logic to it. zero. But with Biden looking weak, Warren being disliked by the Obama people and Sanders being an existential threat, perhaps Deval is a sort of insurance policy. He’s close with Obamaland and Clintonworld, could he be the vessel into which the establishment pours their aspirations? After all, the most powerful tool in Obama’s toolkit is an actual endorsement. He could elevate a candidate from nothing with a single tweet.

Here’s the other possibility to prepare for, it’s entirely possible that Sanders could win the most delegates but not get to 51%, so that he would win on the first ballot. Do you think in that scenario, party elites will let him become the nominee without a fight? You can just imagine the argument that they will make. It will go something like this:

‘Republican patriots should have intervened to stop trump from becoming the nominee. Now that we have our own populist candidate whose ideas are un-American, and who’s a threat to the norms and guardrails, we must act out of principle to save the republic.’

That way democracy subversion can be dressed up as principled and patriotic. after all they’ll say, he didn’t win a majority vote, more people voted for *not* Bernie than for Bernie so they will cloak their undermining as executing the true will of the people.

Now a lot can happen between now and then, and counterbalancing their hatred of Bernie or anyone else who threatens the established way of things is their tendency to cowardice. Perhaps the Democratic elite and their media allies will just meekly accept Bernie’s victory and move into cheerleading for him. Perhaps they will count on their erstwhile friend in the Senate, Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Biden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill MORE, to block Bernie at every turn from stopping the bi-partisan feeding frenzy at the oligarchic trough. But let me ask you, do you really see all the Bush era neocons and Clinton acolytes and national security blob mouthpieces that fill out the ranks of the “liberal” networks these days standing by while Sanders claims the nomination?

Instead be ready for every form of dirty trick, smear and cheating to be used as well as jumping right over those revered “norms and guardrails” because at the end of the day-our bi-partisan establishment owes its heart and soul to the green party-and i’m not talking Greta Thunburg style green. Bernie is an existential threat to business as usual and both parties ability to cash in as perpetual winners in the oligarchy-and they’ll use every means, fair and unfair, to protect their position. So, to those of you dedicated to upending business as usual, in case you had any illusions, Obama’s comments prove that you better be prepared for the fight of your life.