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<p style=”text-align: center;”>You have to be crazy to take on the donors who run Washington. Bernie Sanders doesn’t care</p>
A few hundred of America’s highest-profile liberal politicians, academics and journalists, many of them old friends — a “progressive Bar Mitzvah,” as one friend jokingly put it — met on a crisp Thursday night in late November in Burlington, Vermont, at an event hosted by Jane Sanders… hosted by her Sanders Institute, bearing the Game of Thrones-style title, “The Gathering…”
IN THE mid-2000s, then-congressman Sanders invited me to tag along to work in the House for nearly a month. He explained he wanted national audiences to know how money-dominated and dysfunctional our national legislature could be. I found him odd at first. Sanders almost never asked to go off the record, and he seemed so indifferent to how some of his more blunt observations about his workplace might play in print that I wondered at first if there might be something wrong with him.
It took a while to realize that Sanders simply is who he appears to be. There’s no second-level calculation there, no chilled-out off-duty version who stops babbling about public heating oil programs or VA coverage once you turn off the recorder. This makes him odd, and an abject fail according to the “candidate you want to have a beer with” standard, but it doesn’t make him dishonest, a fact voters picked up on four years ago…. Whether it’s now or later, whoever takes on those interests is going to take a hell of a beating. That Sanders seems willing to be that person seems reason enough to embrace another run. Someone has to take up those fights eventually. It might be a while before anyone else volunteers for the job.