Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) may be mulling a run for president, but the editorial board of one of his home state’s newspapers is asking him not to.
In an op-ed published Saturday in the Barre Montpelier Times Argus titled “Don’t run,” members of the board said “we beg him” to avoid throwing his hat in the ring for 2020.
“That is an unfavorable opinion, especially among most Vermonters and progressives who support the platform that has come to define him,” the board acknowledged. “But at this point, there are more things about another Sanders run at the White House that concern us than excite us.”
One of the board’s gripes with Sanders, the writers noted, was that during his 2016 presidential run, he was absent dozens of times for votes on key matters they felt were important to his constituents.
Taking issue with his laundry list of past media appearances, the board added, “you are more likely to catch Sanders on Colbert, CNN or MSNBC than you are to see him talking to reporters here in Vermont.”
“Evidently, microphones here don’t extend far enough.”
At this point, there are more things about another Sanders run at the White House that concern us than excite us. Barre Montpelier Times Argus editorial board
Aside from Sanders’ cable news habit, the board’s biggest concern was that he may not have the ability to foster party unity among Democrats, which will be essential if they hope to take back the White House.
Former staffers who worked for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign recently raised accusations of sexual harassment and sexism against other Sanders campaign aides. Last Wednesday, the senator’s former campaign manager told The New York Times “there was a failure” to address the alleged misconduct, and Sanders has vowed to do better if he runs again.
“We fear a Sanders run risks dividing the well-fractured Democratic Party, and could lead to another split in the 2020 presidential vote,” the board said. “There is too much at stake to take that gamble. If we are going to maintain a two-party system, the mandate needs to be a clear one.”
While Sanders has not yet announced whether he’ll launch a presidential campaign, he’s only one of a handful of potential Democratic candidates that includes former Vice President Joe Biden, California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who’s already formed an exploratory committee for 2020.