Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who's backing Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president, weighed in on fellow Vermonter Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) surprisingly strong start as a candidate in the race.
"There’s certainly an insurgency. An attractive candidate is basically calling out the Democrats, much the way I did in 2004," Dean told the Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday. "Bernie is a real phenomenon, not just a quirk of the polls."
Dean predicted Sanders' support eventually will wane — as Dean's did when he ran for president in 2004 — and Clinton will win the nomination.
"The problem with candidates like that — and like me — is that as you get closer to election time, you’re more careful about how your vote’s going to be used," Dean said. "You’re going to tend to want to see somebody who you think looks presidential as the nominee of your party. That’s one of the things that sank me. I knew that as an insurrectionist, I wasn’t going to get elected by my party to be the nominee. I just had a lot of trouble turning a corner from being an insurrectionist to being somebody who people could see as president."
The Washington Post is keen on the Dean camp's perspective on Sanders, having interviewed former Dean aide Joe Trippi a few weeks ago. Trippi indicated that establishment Democrats don't fear Sanders as they did Dean, which could help Sanders. "If they hadn't feared us ... and they hadn't all gone on the attack, we probably would have won Iowa," Trippi said.