So it looks like Bernie could perhaps win a plurality of delegates, and yet lose the nomination. Reading between the lines, the other candidates would be happy to facilitate this. This would cause a huge rift within the party. Whether Bernie runs third party or not, Trump would be handed a significant advantage against the eventual Democratic nominee.
So why is such a potentially catastrophic option being considered? Senator Sanders is not particularly outside of the party mainstream. His position on healthcare has been setting the pace for other candidates. Then why has his candidacy inspired such an extreme response? If Senator Warren were in his position, I don’t think anyone would be talking about stopping her on a second vote.
My own hunch is that party leaders know Bernie would govern as a more uncompromising progressive than a President Warren. He would threaten financial interests that party leadership would like to protect. And perhaps more personally, the careers of many party leaders would be threatened by a Bernie nomination. No doubt Bernie’s diehard supporters would paint a more sinister picture.
Ironically, this establishment opposition to Bernie can only bolster the public’s sense of his integrity. People strongly distrust the leadership class in Washington. Yet they have largely decided that Bernie is honest and well-intentioned. So people see slights against his character (such as Warren’s allegations at the January debate) as contrived smears (in that case, his polling numbers went UP).
So what do people think? Why is party leadership prepared to self-destruct over Bernie? Why is stopping Bernie more important than unseating Trump?