Why not get another septugenarian in the 2020 race? That’s the question posed by John Kerry, according to an NBC News report stating that the 2004 Democratic nominee was overheard at his hotel in Des Moines, Iowa, saying he would consider running if Bernie Sanders turned his recent polling ascendency into a primary win.
Over the phone, the former Massachusetts senator and current Biden surrogate reportedly warned of “the possibility of Bernie Sanders taking down the Democratic Party — down whole,” a result only he could deter. Or not: In the same conversation, Kerry apparently said, “Maybe I’m fucking deluding myself here,” and listed out some reasons not to run, like abdicating his lucrative chair on the board of Bank of America.
In similar language to that in the report, the former Secretary of State denied NBC News’ account on Twitter, before thinking better of his brash statement:
If the report of the phone call was accurate, it underscores two ideas that have dominated the primary run-up thus far. First, the Democratic establishment is spooked by Sanders’s strong performance, a concern that the Vermont senator is campaigning on. (“We are their worst nightmare, reads a script from an ad released on Sunday, the day before the Iowa caucuses.) Second, the Democratic establishment still has wavering confidence in Biden’s ability to turn his strong national polling into an electoral win. Regardless, Des Moines Register reporter Brianne Pfannenstiel had some strategic advice for Kerry, regarding the swarm of media in the small city of Des Moines every four years: