Fearing the selection of Bernie Sanders as the Democrats’ 2020 presidential nominee, a growing number of establishment party officials are reportedly considering Sherrod Brown as a late entry “white knight” with Michelle Obama as a running mate.
Other potential candidates floated by the party include Kamala Harris, who dropped out of the race in December, as well as house speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to the New York Times’ interview with 93 party officials, all of whom are super-delegates who could determine the party’s nominee should a candidate emerge without a clear majority of delegate votes.
Anxiously waiting for results from Super Tuesday primaries across the US next week, those Democrats are “willing to risk intraparty damage” to stop the progressive candidate’s nomination at the party’s national convention in July, when the party will select the Democratic nominee to face Donald Trump in the general election on 3 November.
Mr Sanders’ campaign and his legion of supporters have said that the nominee who arrives to the convention with a plurality of delegate support, expressed by the will of the voters, should be selected as the party’s candidate.
His win at the party’s Nevada caucus makes him the first-ever candidate to win the popular vote in the first three consecutive primary states, but Democrats interviewed by the New York Times say he can’t win against the incumbent, and that his progressive platform will endanger moderate Democrats in the House and Senate.
“If you could get to a convention and pick Sherrod Brown, that would be wonderful, but that’s more like a novel,” said Tennessee congressman Steve Cohen. “Donald Trump’s presidency is like a horror story, so if you can have a horror story you might as well have a novel.”
Mr Brown, an Ohio Democrat, is serving his third term in the Senate. Last year, he announced he would not be seeking the party’s nomination in the 2020 race. Long considered a crucial progressive ally in the Midwest, he notably has not backed Medicare for All, Mr Sanders’ signature health policy that would dismantle a for-profit healthcare system.
Other party officials suggested that former president Barack Obama “broker a truce” among the moderate candidates or between Mr Sanders and his establishment opponents. Barring his intervention, party officials suggested the former first lady be selected as a vice presidential pick to unite the burgeoning left with the party’s moderates.
The Obamas have not indicated that they are interested or willing to step into the primary contest and Michelle Obama has repeatedly ruled out a career in public office.
Democratic National Convention member William Owen told the newspaper: “She’s the only person I can think of who can unify the party and help us win ... This election is about saving the American experiment as a republic. It’s also about saving the world. This is not an ordinary election.”
On Thursday, speaker Pelosi appeared to pour water on reports of a brokered convention, telling reporters that “whoever our nominee is, we’ll support”.