The Lid: What To Know Before Comparing Sanders to ‘08 Obama

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos...Washingtonians are preparing for a cataclysmic event that will cause unbreakable gridlock, hopeless dysfunction, and a complete shuttering of the nation’s capital. And this time, IT’S NOT EVEN CONGRESS’S FAULT!

‘16 from 30,000

If you glanced quickly at today’s headlines on the Democratic side, you could be forgiven for thinking that you’d somehow been transported back to 2008. An unlikely progressive insurgent is giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money, and his closing argument is an emotional appeal featuring uplifting music and showing big crowds. And Clinton is trying mightily to explain to Democrats that her competitor’s ideas will “never make it in the real world.” Yup,on the surface, things ain’t so different from 2008, when Clinton rolled her eyes at Barack Obama’s power to summon “celestial choirs.”

BUT, and this is a big BUT, there are still some important fundamental differences between Sanders 2016 and Obama 2008 that are largely getting overlooked in this narrative. 1) Obama had much more potential for expanding his base -- particularly with minority voters -- than Sanders seems to have at this point, 2) unlike John Edwards, Martin O’Malley probably isn’t going to be a significantly viable factor in Iowa to siphon votes away from Clinton, and 3) as our big sib First Read pointed out this morning, Sanders just doesn’t have the kind of outside validation from the party that Obama did in ‘08. In fact, as the Cook Political Report calculates, Bernie Sanders would effectively BEGIN the race eight points behind Clinton in the delegate count in the race to the nomination. Why? Because 15 percent of the Democratic convention delegates are unpledged superdelegates, and Clinton has a yuuuuuuge advantage with them right now.


  • Don’t miss today’s edition of Tales on the Trail, including NBC embed Monica Alba writes about how the campaign trail is kind of like “The Amazing Race” (only, you can never really win).
  • Hillary Clinton is knocking Bernie Sanders for his recent statement in support of normalizing U.S. relations with Iran, NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell writes.
  • Donald Trump is trying out a new label: unifier.
  • In today’s “Tales from the Trail,” NBC embed Monica Alba writes about how the campaign trail is kind of like “The Amazing Race” (only, you can never really win).
  • With the Iowa caucuses just 11 days away, Bernie Sanders is out with a new closing ad designed to showcase the candidate's swelling crowds of "everyday Americans."
  • White House press secretary Josh Earnest responded to Sarah Palin’s comment Wednesday criticizing Obama’s handling of veterans.
  • And from First Read: Is the GOP establishment taking a risky bet on Donald Trump?


“"It's a lot like being shot or poisoned: I think you get the same result."

  • Lindsey Graham, to CNN, on whether he’d prefer Donald Trump or Ted Cruz


Hillary Clinton, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Rand Paul, Martin O’Malley and Bernie Sanders are all in New Hampshire.

Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson are in Iowa.