RAging against the machine has brought Bernie Sanders far. His contempt for "the establishment" and the "donor class" gave Hillary Clinton, who was cast as the "anointed" Democratic presidential candidate, Progressive almost perfect.
Sanders was beaten in elementary school, but the senator and his allies were plagued and making changes to the party's rules, which they said had been "manipulated." Now the role of the party in the choice of the nominee is limited and a Sanders nomination is a very real possibility. At the forefront of earlier polls, the increasingly self-confident Vermont senator dares to "stop" the "political establishment".
"They are afraid of our movement – as they should be," Campaign Manager Faiz Shakir wrote in an email to supporters as part of a "48-hour emergencies fundraiser" to address the "serious threat to our campaign."
The appeal was sent after a New York Times report revealed a series of private dinners at which democratic leaders, strategists, donors – and even a presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg – met to discuss "the matter with Bernie."
Not long before the publication of the Times story, Sanders had intensified a dispute with the Center for American Politics, a liberal sub-tank founded by a Clinton ally. In a sharply worded letter, he accused the group of wanting to "smear" it in a video produced by a linked website.
Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, said Sanders sent a very clear signal to the party: "If you want me to play ball – whether I win or lose the nomination – then you're not intervening somehow in the nomination process , "
The Democrats have been working hard to heal the 2016 wounds and form a united front against Donald Trump. In early 2017, Sanders teamed up with Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, for a "one-to-one tour." He also accepted a Democratic leadership in the Senate, an unusual step for a registered Independent.
However, many Sanders supporters are deeply suspicious of democratic institutions and leaders, and in turn, some Clinton supporters and the former nominee, Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady himself believe that his 2016 attacks caused "lasting damage."
After Sanders had started his 2020 run in the White House, tensions between the camps began. The senator drew one unusually sharp blame by Clinton's spokesman, when he said he had no interest in asking the former nominees for advice, citing "fundamental differences." The dust carpet followed a Politico story in which loyalists acted insults.
"An internal civil war can only help one person, and that's Donald Trump," said California Congressman Ro Khanna, co-chair of the Sanders 2020 campaign. "We have to avoid that at all costs."
Khanna argued that a concerted attempt to "stop Sanders" was pointless, because the Senator's progressive policies – and his many years of experience advocating such issues – consolidated his early top spot in a crowded field. He pointed to other candidates who have accepted Sanders populist progressive positions.
In 2018, the majority Democrats' Path went through dozens of districts that voted for Trump two years ago. Moderate believe Sanders, who became just a Democrat who ran for the nomination, would unsettle these voters in parliamentary elections. Worse, they fear he might attract a third-party "spoiler". Former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz is considering running as an "independent centrist" and accusing Sanders of pushing the party too far to the left.
There is little evidence that a concerted effort to stop Sanders would have any effect, not least because it thrives on a real or perceived attack by the Party establishment. Some of Sander's best fundraising days in 2016 took place when Clinton stepped up their criticism.
Rick Wilson, a Republican political adviser and author of Everything Trump Touches Dies, said he understands the impulse to stop Sanders.
"If I were the Trump team, I would beg every morning [the nominee] Bernie Sanders, "Wilson said. "Crazy old socialist" is a note [Trump] I know how to play. "
A mainstream Democrat like Joe Biden or even rising star Buttigieg could attract dissatisfied Republicans like himself, Wilson said.
"It's not about Medicare for All or a free college or any of that," he said. "This is about Donald Trump. Democrats have two choices: make a referendum on Donald Trump or lose. That's it. There are no other options. "
But Sanders believes his anti-establishment appeal fits perfectly with Trump in the heart of the country. The president must win the victory in 2020. To prove it, Sanders hosted a town hall with Fox News, and perhaps even surprised himself when the network's audience cheered and cheered his policies.
There is little evidence that a campaign against Sanders would work. The last time leaders of a party came together to thwart an emerging populist leader, they failed spectacularly.
"The Republicans are the more controllable party," said Sabato. "They fall in line. Yet their leadership failed to prevent a reality TV star from becoming the party's candidate. "
For Sanders 'most faithful followers, The Times' report was just another proof that despite hard-won changes in party rules and the ideological bias of the presidential field, the deck is still stacked against her husband. They are in a certain mood.
"This was an exciting moment for Bernie supporters," said RoseAnn DeMoro, former president of National Nurses United. She warned, "You alienate millions of people if you alienate Bernie Sanders."
Former Obama adviser Dan Pfeiffer was meanwhile dull about what those who do not want a Sanders candidacy need to do.
"If you want to influence who the nominee is," he said on Twitter, "go to Iowa and knock on damn doors, do not go to a Manhattan dinner and tell the New York Times about it."