Moderate Democrats watched in horror as Bernie Sanders soared to a landslide victory in Nevada.
It wasn’t the win that was surprising — it was the walloping Sanders gave his opponents, his ability to dominate among Latino voters, and the momentum he gained moving into South Carolina and Super Tuesday. The performance sent already worried Democrats into a full-blown panic.
“In 30-plus years of politics, I’ve never seen this level of doom. I’ve never had a day with so many people texting, emailing, calling me with so much doom and gloom,” said Matt Bennett of the center-left group Third Way after Sanders’ win in Nevada.
Bennett said moderates firmly believe a Sanders primary win would seal Donald Trump’s reelection. “It’s this incredible sense that we’re hurtling to the abyss. I also think we could lose the House. And if we do, there would be absolutely no way to stop [Trump]. Today is the most depressed I’ve ever been in politics.”
A renewed sense of urgency washed over establishment Democrats, who fear it’s quickly becoming too late to stop Sanders.
Biden supporters moved to persuade the party to coalesce around him as the best hope of blunting Sanders’ momentum. A super PAC for Biden renewed discussions with jittery donors who had frozen their financial support for the former vice president as they awaited signs of whether billionaire Mike Bloomberg would emerge as the strongest moderate candidate, according to two donors with knowledge of the talks.