MSNBC Panel: "Establishment/Corporate Democrats" Won't Call Sanders The Frontrunner Even If He Wins New Hampshire, South Carolina, And Nevada | Video | RealClearPolitics

MSNBC Panel: "Establishment/Corporate Democrats" Won't Call Sanders The Frontrunner Even If He Wins New Hampshire, South Carolina, And Nevada

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MSNBC's Ari Melber asks a panel of journalists about what it would take for the Democratic establishment to accept Bernie Sanders as their candidate.

"Even if Bernie Sanders wins by a fairly healthy margin, in terms of the actual delegates, which is how you win this thing, it is likely to still be fairly distributed across the candidates," New York Magazine's Gabe Debenedetti said. "Even if, let's say, Sanders did well in Iowa, sort of won Iowa, split delegates with Buttigieg, say he wins by a lot tonight, even if he wins Nevada and even if he surprises everyone and wins South Carolina, the establishment Democrats aren't going to say this is Bernie's race to lose."

"Mother Jones" editor David Corn said: "If he wins, he still is winning with a quarter of the vote, meaning 75% of Democrats are not with him, and of course the established democrats, corporate democrats, whatever you want to call them, will be horrified by his policies."

ARI MELBER, MSNBC: You write a consensus in the final hours looks like the Democrats' nominating contest to take a while, that's the fear in the back of the minds of Democratic pros. And to the forefront of some of their worries, a long-drawn-out primary that's increasingly divisive for months, maybe lead to go contentious convention in Milwaukee this summer. What are you getting at here?

GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI, NEW YORK MAGAZINE: Basically the idea is that we're not going to have a clear frontrunner, clearly shaped race no matter what happens tonight, even if Bernie Sanders wins by a fairly healthy margin, in terms of the actual delegates, which is how you win this thing, it is likely to still be fairly distributed across the candidates. Even if, let's say, Sanders did well in Iowa, sort of won Iowa, split delegates with Buttigieg, say he wins by a lot tonight, even if he wins Nevada and even if he surprises everyone and wins South Carolina, the establishment Democrats aren't going to say this is Bernie's race to lose, there's still a pretty big delegate mix here.

ARI MELBER: Let's dig into that. David, there's a big difference between the first two states basically congealing around the leader, a lot of folks want to know who does well, has the enthusiasm to beat Trump. The Establishment treats Bernie Sanders differently, being if a "Biden style candidate" won several of the first few states, everyone would say great, let's wrap it up. With Bernie Sanders, there's this attitude maybe that's not good enough. What is that?

DAVID CORN: If he wins, he still is winning with a quarter of the vote, meaning 75% of Democrats are not with him, and of course the established democrats, corporate democrats, whatever you want to call them, will be horrified by his policies. You've seen them already speak out against that. There will be this moment of panic at some point, what do we do, who is the establishment candidate or more moderate candidate.

ARI MELBER: You say that applies only to Sanders?

DAVID CORN: Mostly. There's a little of that with Elizabeth Warren. Mostly focused on Sanders. Particularly if he takes the lead. But if Biden is slipping, who do they go to? Is Amy Klobuchar rising? Do they switch there? Or do they get behind Michael Bloomberg?

ARI MELBER: Jess, this is where some say there's an echo of the other untraditional candidate in the Republican primary last time, which was: everyone was allowed to run away except for Donald Trump, the Republican establishment was saying maybe we stop him at the convention. Is that something the Democrats will mobilize and do well with, or do you have to fall in line behind the person in the lead?

MSNBC PANELIST: I think that's a question that Democrats are still working their way through.



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