(CNN)Bernie Sanders is closer now than he ever was to the Democratic presidential nomination in 2016.
But in an odd twist of politics, he’s doing it with a lot less support.
There are so many differences between 2016 and 2020 that it’s hard to compare the two.
For starters, while Sanders has turned out a committed third of the Democratic primary electorate in 2020 and had a delegate lead heading into Super Tuesday, he turned out a lot more voters in 2016
The main reason for that: 2016 was a two-person race between Sanders and Hillary Clinton and 2020 has been a multi-person slug fest. In 2016, he was the leader of the democratic socialist movement and also the Clinton protest vote. In 2020, he’s fighting the suspicion (and fear) among many Democrats that his democratic socialism would help re-elect President Donald Trump
It’s clear from exit polls and results in the primary so far that Sanders’ base of support has shrunk rather than expanded in the four years since he last ran for President, even as his political power has grown.
“He underperformed in Iowa and New Hampshire. He won 86% of the vote in Vermont against Hillary Clinton in 2016. He’s getting 57% tonight,” said David Axelrod, the CNN political analyst who worked on Barack Obama’s winning campaigns.
Axelrod pointed out that Sanders took every delegate out of his home state of Vermont in 2016. This year, he got about 51% (with 99% of the vote reported), which means Joe Biden will get some of his home state delegates.
“Bernie Sanders is not growing here. He is not building on what he did before, and that would be a big concern,” Axelrod said.
A few weeks ago, after Sanders victories in New Hampshire and Nevada, it appeared he could put the nomination away on Super Tuesday. But it’s now clear this delegate fight will go on and on with Sanders unable to break through a ceiling.
Bernie 2016 vs. Bernie 2020
- Sanders won New Hampshire with more than 60% of the vote in 2016. He won with 25.6% in 2020.
- He got 35% in Virginia in 2016. He got 23% in 2020.
- He got 41% in North Carolina in 2016. He was at 24% there in 2020 with more than 80% of the expected vote reported.
- Sanders won Minnesota in 2016, although it was a caucus that year. With a primary in 2020, he lost to Biden.
- He won Oklahoma in 2016. He lost it in 2020.
Where is the youthquake?
Sanders promises he will create a new coalition of young people and minorities who want their government to do more for people.
But young voters, a traditional Democratic const