October 2, 2019

Is Bernie Sanders going to have to drop out?

According to Breitbart, Bernie Sanders is facing a medical issue:
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) underwent emergency heart surgery, installing two stents in an artery, and has canceled all campaign events “until further notice,” his campaign announced Wednesday morning.

Sanders’ Senior Advisor Jeff Weaver said in an emailed statement that Sanders, 78, “experienced some chest discomfort” during a campaign event on Tuesday. A medical evaluation determined that he had a blockage in an artery, and two stents were “successfully inserted.”

Weaver said Sanders conversing and “in good spirits.” However, they are canceling all of his campaign activities until further notice.
It's well within the realm of possibility that Sanders will recover fully, but the question is whether his campaign can do the same. As a real contender, he can't afford an indefinite suspension of events and media face time. It puts his campaign at risk if he misses a weak. Further, there is an immediate perception problem. Voters will wonder, fairly, "is he physically up to the job?" It's not necessarily fair because he could recover fully but the perception may not follow suit. It's a fair perception because you cannot really know, but it is not necessarily fair to Bernie at the same time.

I am no fan of socialist Bernie, but it is an unfortunate development for his campaign. I suspect this is something that drops him back down to the top of the second tier - leaving Warren, Biden as the only contenders in the first tier. Sanders could find himself between that tier with support in the 20% plus range and ahead of Buttigieg and Harris in the 5% range. This could definitely drop Sanders from a barely top tier 16% down to 10%, clearly falling out of the top tier, away from potential recovery to a true contender.

That leaves Warren and Biden in the front runner category. If the Biden scandal pans out this becomes a Trump vs. Warren 2020 general election. Sanders' fellow socialist Elizabeth Warren has an opportunity to seize the nomination by the throat at this point. She will need to go after Biden to do it. It is interesting because with the next debate she will have to decide whether to go after the potential Ukraine scandal involving Biden, or to take the "high road" among Democrats and ignore the scandal.

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