When candidates are confronted by ideological opposition from within their own party, they face two options: They can fight it or embrace it. In 1952 Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Taft fought. In 1980 Jimmy Carter and Edward Kennedy fought. In 2014 Republican incumbents fearful of Tea Party challengers co-opted the grassroots movement’s message and with a suffocating embrace drained their opponents of a rallying cry.
In the first act of the Hillary Clinton v. Bernie Sanders competition, the candidates are following the latter route: It’s all snuggle. Sen. Sanders announced that he was running for president Thursday and trained his fire on Republicans. He needs attention and he could have gotten it by showing the clear differences between his views and Clinton’s—but he didn’t….
If this continues to be the Vermont senator’s approach, Sanders will be more of a help to Clinton’s presidential chances than he will be to his own.