Bernie gave the go-ahead for the 2024 memo

“I know people who got it who weren’t Bernie staff, who were other Democrats who were Bernieworld friends but not known as Bernie die-hards,” said a former Sanders campaign aide, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the memo. “They wanted it.”

Another former staff member added: ‘They sent this to people who have press connections because they wanted to make the news.

President Joe Biden has said he plans to campaign for another term, but some Democrats doubt he’ll pull the trigger. He would be 82 at the start of a second term, and his current approval ratings are dismal. In political circles, speculation has been widespread that potential Democratic candidates in an open primary could include Vice President Kamala Harris, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Senator Elizabeth Warren and even some Sanders allies.

But not Sanders himself.

He has been largely absent from presidential discussions, despite finishing second in the last two presidential primaries.

A ranking last week of the top 10 Democratic candidates in 2024 did not include Sanders in the list. The New York Times reported last week on a forthcoming book by Ari Rabin-Havt, deputy director of Sanders’ 2020 campaign, in which he wrote: “While Bernie Sanders will never be president, his two campaigns transformed the Democratic Party and this country. ”

Longtime Sanders adviser and 2016 presidential campaign manager Jeff Weaver, along with former top Sanders adviser Mark Longabaugh, have privately encouraged California Rep. Ro Khanna to run in 2024 if Biden doesn’t try. not to run for a second term. Khanna previously served as Sanders’ campaign co-chair.

Another former Sanders campaign co-chair, Nina Turner, recently predicted a progressive would challenge Biden in 2024 and notably declined to comment when asked if she would consider being the person to do so.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the political environment right now,” Weaver said. “It’s very early in the process, but the purpose of the memo, which I had no part in drafting, is just to warn people that if the president doesn’t show up in 2024, the senator did not close the door.”

Sanders recently took actions that would likely have been seen as the maneuvers of a potential presidential candidate had they been taken by other politicians. Last summer, he traveled to Iowa and Indiana to promote Biden’s spending plan. In December, he traveled to Michigan to rally Kellogg workers on the picket line. He is traveling to Virginia and New York this weekend to visit unionized workers at Amazon and Starbucks.

But Sanders’ advanced age, along with the fact that his aides and allies had signaled he would not run again, seemed to rule out the possibility of a third run. The Vermont senator, born 14 months before Biden, is 80 and suffered a heart attack on the campaign trail in 2019.

In the current political context, however, Sanders’ age hardly stands out. Aside from Biden, former President Donald Trump, who could make another run for the White House in 2024, is 75. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is 82 and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is 80.

Still, some allies are hoping Sanders won’t run a third time and pass the torch instead.

Kurt Ehrenberg, a former senior adviser to Sanders in the early voting state of New Hampshire, this week called the memo “good for business” because it “keeps Bernie in the game, keeps his name in the mix.”

But, he said, “it’s not a good idea for Bernie Sanders to think about running for president of the United States. … It is time for the progressive movement to find new leadership. He is simply too old and we need young people to lead a movement that will save this country.

A former senior official dismissed the memo as a “call to stay relevant and part of the 2024 conversation should Biden decide not to run again.”

Some people close to Sanders have encouraged him to keep 2024 as an option, depending on Biden’s political fortunes. In private conversations with others, Sanders’ confidants said he was open to running again, according to two people familiar with the discussions.

Some Sanders allies even say they’d be with him if he campaigned in an open primary two years from now.

“Bernie Sanders is the most important progressive leader of a generation who also happens to be the most popular current elected official,” Khanna said. “He won the debate to end neoliberalism, support working families and rebuild the middle class in places that were deindustrialized. I will be enthusiastic for him for everything he races for.


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