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FEARS are growing in the Democratic Party establishment that Bernie Sanders could become their presidential nominee, as party grandees started to round on the Vermont senator.
Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, a former senior aide to Barack Obama, led the charge today, claiming that the leftwinger’s support for free universal healthcare would not be popular in so-called swing states.
“You need a candidate with a message that can help us win swing voters in battleground states,” Mr Emanuel said. “The degree of difficulty dramatically increases under a Bernie Sanders candidacy. It just gets a lot harder.”
Those close to Mr Obama are ratcheting up vocal opposition to Mr Sanders as they recognise the support he is attracting, with thousands of people attending his campaign meetings.
In 2016, Mr Sanders’s campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination proved a serious rival to that of eventual winner Hillary Clinton.
He has again built a strong grassroots campaign, raising a staggering $34.5 million (£26.3m) in the fourth quarter of fundraising. Most of this has come in the form of small, individual donations.
By contrast, frontrunner and former vice-president Joe Biden pulled in $22.7m (£17.3m), while Elizabeth Warren garnered $21.2m (£16.1m).
Former Obama aide Ben LaBolt, an opponent of Mr Sanders, warned: “He has now emerged as somebody who’s got the ability to win the nomination.”
With the Iowa caucus less than a month away, Mr Sanders has warned against a Biden candidacy.
“Joe Biden voted and helped lead the effort for the war in Iraq, the most dangerous foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country,” he told the Los Angeles Times.
“If you’re a Donald Trump and you got Biden having voted for the war in Iraq, Biden having voted for these terrible, in my view, trade agreements, Biden having voted for the bankruptcy bill – Trump will eat his lunch.”
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