Bernie Sanders Suggests Obama Faces A Primary Challenger
Progressives have talked about President Barack Obama facing a primary challenger. No one as prominent Sen Bernie Sanders has uttered the words until now.
SANDERS: Brian, believe me, I wish I had the answer to your question. Let me just suggest this. I think there are millions of Americans who are deeply disappointed in the president; who believe that, with regard to Social Security and a number of other issues, he said one thing as a candidate and is doing something very much else as a president; who cannot believe how weak he has been, for whatever reason, in negotiating with Republicans and there’s deep disappointment. So my suggestion is, I think one of the reasons the president has been able to move so far to the right is that there is no primary opposition to him and I think it would do this country a good deal of service if people started thinking about candidates out there to begin contrasting what is a progressive agenda as opposed to what Obama is doing. [...] So I would say to Ryan [sic] discouragement is not an option. I think it would be a good idea if President Obama faced some primary opposition.
Sanders is right about the politics. Obama is willing to offer Medicare and Social Security cuts because he feels no pressure from the Left. A formidable primary challenger would force Obama to govern more left of center. Besides Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Howard Dean, there isn't a candidate that jump into the race and quickly raise money. Clinton and Gore have neoliberal governing tendencies like Obama. Dean has no interest in running in 2012. Dean will probably run in 2016.
A recent CNN poll shows Obama losing support among liberals. Sanders openly floats the idea of a primary challenger. If the economy gets worse the activists that made phone calls and volunteered hours to get Obama elected weren't vote Republican. They will stay home.