From the Washington Post, this afternoon, “Some top Sanders advisers urge him to consider withdrawing”:
A small group of Bernie Sanders’s top aides and allies — including his campaign manager and his longtime strategist — have encouraged the independent senator from Vermont to consider withdrawing from the presidential race, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
The group includes campaign manager Faiz Shakir and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), a top Sanders surrogate and ally, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive private discussions.
Sanders himself has become more open to the prospect of dropping out, according to one of the people with knowledge of the situation and another close ally, especially if he suffers a significant defeat in Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary, which polls suggest Joe Biden will win handily.
Beyond Shakir and Jayapal, longtime strategist Jeff Weaver has privately made a case that exiting the race more quickly and on good terms with Biden would give Sanders more leverage in the long run, according to one of the people; the other said Weaver has used a light touch in presenting his case. Weaver and Jayapal did not return calls and messages seeking comment. Shakir declined to comment.
Sanders has not a made a final decision, the people said, and other close allies have privately urged him to keep running, such as national campaign co-chair Nina Turner, while Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) is also said to favor him remaining in the race. Larry Cohen, a longtime ally who chairs a nonprofit aligned with Sanders, is waging a public campaign for him to stay in until the Democratic National Convention.
The Sanders campaign declined to comment on internal deliberations…
Emphases mine. Vulgar speculation: Maybe Shakir and Jayapal were not the ‘two people with knowledge‘ mentioned in the first paragraph, but that phrasing is a well-known form of reportorial snark. Also, if Jeff ‘Comic Book Guy’ Weaver thinks it’s time to cut & run, that’s a prime indicator there’s no hope left of reviving the embers. Nina Turner is either nuts or playing nuts for the media, and Tlaib backed herself into a bad corner when she publicly encouraged Sanders supporters to boo Hillary Clinton — no other campaign will touch her now, and she’s liable to lose the seat she won in a split race in 2018. And Larry Cohen, chairman of ‘Our Revolution’, has his own reasons for encouraging Sanders to continue running
the grift all the way to the end.
Elsewhere, the postmortem infighting has already begun!
New: Once a front-runner, Bernie Sanders' contempt for the Democratic establishment and traditional campaign tools won him adoring fans, but undermined his path to the White House. An in-depth look at a campaign that rose and fell very quickly: https://t.co/NRBA4LmKYt
— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) April 2, 2020
… Over the course of just 10 explosive days between the Nevada caucus on February 22 and Super Tuesday on March 3, that campaign cratered, with Sanders going from an unrivaled front-runner to a distant second-place contender, likely due to finish with far fewer delegates than he commanded in 2016.
HuffPost spoke to more than three dozen Sanders aides, allies and critics about why the progressive leader stumbled. Many of them requested anonymity to speak freely.
The answers they suggested are myriad. He failed to erect a campaign nimble enough to overcome the built-in challenges he was bound to face from a skeptical press corps and a hostile party establishment. He hung his electoral success on the relatively risky bet that he could both expand the electorate and do so in a way that would benefit him disproportionately. His staff feuded unnecessarily with Elizabeth Warren, and he failed to make inroads with older Black voters ― a repeat of 2016 dynamics.
Perhaps most significantly, Sanders failed to expand his core bloc of support into a coalition capable of winning a majority, and he did not adequately prepare for the prospect that moderates would consolidate behind Biden.
“There was a strategy to get to 30% and not to 50%,” one Sanders ally said.
Many of these shortcomings go back to a defining feature of Bernie Sanders’ political career: He is going to do it his way or not at all…
Sanders trusts a very small circle of trusted advisers and is slow to make decisions, particularly when it comes to considering potential changes in his approach. It’s a tendency that would later be evident in his relatively drawn-out response this month to the COVID-19 outbreak. Biden incorporated fears of the pandemic into his critique of Trump in late January; Sanders began blasting Trump for his response to the crisis about a month later.
Likewise, Warren rolled out her first plan to address the crisis at the end of January, and second, more detailed one, at the beginning of March. But while Sanders convened a roundtable to discuss the topic on March 9, he did not unveil a comparable policy plan until March 17, the day after his first head-to-head debate with Biden…
In the absence of a nimble communications operation, some aides and surrogates ended up crafting their own messaging that was at odds with the official campaign line.
Briahna Gray, a national press secretary for Sanders who joined the campaign after a career in law and a brief stint in journalism, spent many days tangling with his antagonists on Twitter, including a number of media figures. In one string of late September tweets ripping the Warren campaign, she appeared to back the campaign into a position of publicly blessing a newly contentious stance toward Warren that the campaign never followed through on.
Turner also sometimes initiated assaults on Sanders’ rivals that the candidate himself had not yet engaged in. Ahead of the November debate in Atlanta, for example, Turner took thinly veiled shots at former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, before clarifying that she did not speak for the campaign.
And Sirota, a journalist with Capitol Hill and campaign experience, launched a Sanders campaign newsletter “Bern Notice” that offered a disclaimer that the newsletter reflected his views and not those of the campaign. He was still admonished for using the newsletter to promote a January op-ed by Sanders-backing law professor Zephyr Teachout on Biden’s “corruption problem.”
The disarray beneath Sanders ― whether on the communications side, or elsewhere ― might have been less harmful if Sanders himself had a sharper grasp of the tools it took to make a campaign succeed.
But at times, he appeared to be penny wise and pound foolish. He was known to complain to aides about the number of advance staffers it took to erect his events, wondering why it was necessary to employ so many people just to put on rallies…
…[T]he talk of a brokered convention spoke to a flaw in Sanders’ underlying strategy that the campaign never effectively confronted: Their coalition was considerably smaller than in 2016 and would not be able to withstand a sudden consolidation among moderate voters…
A pro-Sanders progressive activist described feeling as though the Sanders campaign felt entitled to the support of left-leaning groups and as a result, did not treat activists as respectfully as Warren’s campaign. The campaign sought organizations’ input on multiple policy proposals just a day or two before their rollout, providing little time for input, and did not answer emails from activists on multiple occasions.
“The outward motto of the campaign was ‘Not me. Us,’ but the real motto seemed like ‘Everybody against us’ or ‘Just us,’” the activist said…
There’s a lot more stories at the link — it would surprise me if Marans doesn’t have a book deal in mind, if not in hand. Also, since this report (unlike any other I’ve seen) credits Jeff Weaver as the wise, sensible voice of experience for the campaign… I have a suspicion about Maranis’ main source!
An overarching theme in the story: When expert campaign advice made Sanders uncomfortable, his discomfort usually took precedence.
When he let experts do their thing, as in green-lighting polling in May and unlocking funding for TV ads in October, his fortunes generally rose. pic.twitter.com/NYITvGWdzT
— Daniel Marans (@danielmarans) April 2, 2020
Pete Buttigieg’s former campaign manager:
There are two types of people in elections: people who know when to pack it up gracefully and end on a high note (see Buttigieg, Pete) and people who douse themselves in lighter fluid and strike a match while they’re plunging in the polls and facing a certain loss —> https://t.co/iN4AbLPlBr
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) April 3, 2020