Sanders campaign adviser on what went right and what went wrong

Chuck Rocha, a senior adviser to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats hope to hold Big Oil 'accountable' On The Money — Will the billionaire tax survive Joe Manchin? Democrats cutting paid leave from spending deal amid Manchin opposition MORE’s (I-Vt.) presidential bid, outlined what went right and wrong for the campaign after Sanders withdrew from the 2020 race Wednesday.

Rocha praised the campaign’s intense Latino outreach efforts and Sanders’s personal story, but admitted that the ultimate establishment consolidation around former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden to meet House Dems before Europe trip: report 21 House Democrats call for removing IRS bank reporting proposal from spending bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Altria — Vulnerable House Dems push drug pricing plan MORE was too great to overcome.

“The one thing that went really, really right…was the way we changed the game when it comes to reaching out to Latinos,” he said Thursday on Hill.TV’s “Rising.”

Rocha also pointed to success in states where the Sanders campaign had been able to spend months organizing before the nominating contests, such as Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.

“One of the other great things we did is show that early organizing matters in states where we had enough time to run organizing campaigns in Iowa, in Nevada, doubling down in New Hampshire. That strategy worked, and it worked well,” Rocha said. “He had a freakin’ heart attack in the middle of a presidential campaign and we came within three days of being the Democratic nominee. You can’t make that up.” 

However, Rocha said the campaign did not have a long enough runway to combat the consolidation behind Biden after the former vice president won a nearly 30-point rout in South Carolina. That victory was followed by endorsements from 2020 rivals Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharFacebook tells employees to preserve records amid global inquiries Paid family leave proposal at risk Top Arizona elections official says violent threats fueling worker turnover MORE (D-Minn.) and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden, Democrats inch closer to legislative deal Republican spin on Biden is off the mark Unanswered questions remain for Buttigieg, Biden on supply chain catastrophe MORE and a gust of momentum. 

“It’s something that we could not control,” Rocha said.

“You didn’t have that time to build that on the ground infrastructure to blunt that head-to-head reaction that we had after it all came together.”