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In a mirror image of the queasiness among establishment Republicans as Donald Trump gained momentum in 2016, Democratic insiders see an increasing possibility that Bernie Sanders — a democratic socialist who tied Pete Buttigieg in Iowa and edged him in New Hampshire — will be their nominee.
The state of play ... There are two groups of Democratic worry: those who think he'll be the nominee and can't get elected (and would risk taking the House with him), and those who think he'll be the nominee and can get elected — and would sink the economy and blow up health care.
- One top Obama veteran was among the Democratic insiders who took comfort in Sanders' narrow New Hampshire win, saying that it showed Sanders has a ceiling, and that it's lower than many thought.
Sanders' robust start is triggering alarm among congressional Democrats, with many warning that a ticket headed by a self-declared democratic socialist could devastate chances of winning the Senate and holding the House, AP reports:
- In anxious huddles around the Capitol, apprehensive Democrats shared their worries that Sanders' socialist label and unyielding embrace of controversial proposals like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal would repel voters in the affluent, moderate districts that flipped House control in 2018.
- Democrats' jitters have Republicans rubbing their hands in delight.