Democrats Really Like Bernie Sanders, But Don’t Want Him To Run For President Again

Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton are nearly equal regarding favorability with Democrats, but members and leaners with the party don’t want to see Clinton or Sanders run for president again in 2020.

HuffPost reported on the new HuffPost/YouGov poll:
Looking forward, just 20 percent want to see Clinton run for president again, but 47 percent say they’d like to see her remain active in politics in other ways, while 23 percent want her to retire. Thirty percent want to see Sanders take another stab at the presidency, with 46 percent preferring him to engage in other facets of politics, and 12 percent wishing he would retire.

Both the “Clinton wing” and “Sanders wing” of the party ― defined as those who view one of those politicians positively, but the other negatively ― are relatively small. A 54 percent majority of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents view both Clinton and Sanders favorably, according to the poll. Sixteen percent like Sanders but not Clinton, while 12 percent like Clinton, but not Sanders. Another 6 percent hold a negative view of both.

The “Clinton and Sanders wings” of the Democratic Party both make a lot of noise on the Internet, but neither represents the majority of the party, which likes both Clinton and Sanders. The poll points to one of the classic problems of presidential electoral politics. Bernie Sanders caught lightning in a bottle in 2016, but it is much more difficult to recapture that momentum four years later. Sen. Sanders benefitted greatly from being the only serious non-Clinton option in the Democratic primary, but 2020 is shaping up to be a crowded field that could contain several well-known and popular Democrats running for the nomination.

Sanders could face a challenge in holding onto his supporters if Sens. Jeff Merkley and Elizabeth Warren run for the nomination. The field will also be much bigger. It wouldn’t be surprising if 10-20 Democrats ran for the nomination in 2020.

The poll shows that for most Democrats the moment has passed for Clinton and Sanders. The party wants new voices and new leadership. The Clinton and Sanders wings of the Democratic Party might be overblown, but the desire for fresh faces is very real among a majority of Democrats.