Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders gave former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton a difficult run in the 2016 primary, but the list of his recent endorsements reveals his political clout could be receding.
The senator has so far formally endorsed seven candidates for their respective offices since the November 2016 election, according to an analysis. Sanders formally endorsed Keith Ellison for chair of the Democratic National Committee, James Thompson for U.S. Representative, Tom Perriello for Governor, Jon Ossoff for U.S. Representative, Heath Mello for Omaha Mayor, Steve Zimmer and Imelda Padilla for Los Angeles School Board, as well as Rob Quist for US Representative.
Every candidate, with the exception of Ossoff and Perriello, have already lost their special elections during the 2017 electoral season.
In addition, a group created to continue the progress Sanders made in the 2016 primaries called “Our Revolution” endorsed 25 candidates that lost their 2017 elections and only endorsed 12 winning candidates, giving the group a 32 percent success rating.
“Through supporting a new generation of progressive leaders, empowering millions to fight for progressive change and elevating the political consciousness, Our Revolution will transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families,” the group asserts on its website.
For his part, a large reason for the stunningly low success rate is his willingness to formally endorse Democrats running in deeply Republican districts.
“The truth is that in some conservative states there will be candidates that are popular candidates who may not agree with me on every issue.
I understand it. That’s what politics is about,” Sanders told NPR in April about the endorsements.
A Harvard-Harris poll published in April reported that the senator was the most popular politician in Washington, D.C. He was the only member of Congress to break with 50 percent mark, earning a strong 57 percent approval rating. That’s down from a high of 62 percent last October, after his loss to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the primary.
“In losing to Hillary [Clinton], Bernie Sanders has floated above today’s partisan politics,” said Harvard-Harris co-director Mark Penn in April.
“It is symptomatic of the Democrats increasingly consolidating to the left while the Republicans are fractured and unable to come together.
Sanders is an asset to the Democrats.”
Although Sanders’ popularity is high, his support hasn’t translated to success in the polling booth, even in strong Democratic strongholds like Los Angeles.
The senator endorsed two Democrats currently running for office. Ossoff is currently leading Republican challenger Karen Handel, but the recent polls don’t reflect a poor performance in the latest district debate last week.
Perriello leads over current Virginia Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam in that state’s gubernatorial primary scheduled for June 13th, but the young Democrat continues to have a smaller donation haul than his opponent.