DES MOINES – Jodi Stanfield enthusiastically supported Bernie Sanders in 2016. Now she has found a new candidate that attracts her: Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
"I trust her when she says she can fight, and also win," Stanfield said Saturday at a Democratic roast where many of the candidates spoke. While Sanders and Warren have similar platforms, the Massachusetts Democrat would be more effective in achieving her goal, said the 51-year-old, who works at the YMCA.
Stanfield represents a growing problem for Vermont independence in its second run for president: Warren has begun to eclipse Sanders's once-dominant position among the Democratic Party's most liberal voters, surpassing him in a few polls in the first two states in the nomination process: Iowa and New Hampshire.
They both support what would be a massive economic restructuring with ideas like Medicare-for-all, but Sanders, 78, has carved out his brand as a democratic socialist while Warren, 70, has described himself as a capitalist who has served more as part of the democratic mainstream. While Sanders drew attention in 201
These challenges have been exacerbated by the volatility of Sander's operations in Iowa and New Hampshire. The campaign quietly dismissed its Iowa political head late last summer and has yet to name a replacement – an important vacancy when the race enters a decisive phase, with less than five months to go before the February caucuses.
Sanders' difficulties in Iowa have come into sharper focus this weekend. The most respected pollster in the state released a poll late Saturday showing that Warren grew to 22 percent, two points ahead of former Vice President Joe Biden, with Sanders at 11 percent. It places him third in the state where he fought Hillary Clinton to a close draw in 2016 and started an electrifying national movement.
Perhaps more worrying for Sanders, the opinion poll provided the clearest indication that Warren is eating in his base. She wins a larger percentage of people caucused for Sanders 2016 than he is, and she outperforms him among those under 35, his formerly strong suit, according to the study conducted by Selzer and Co. for Des Moines Register, CNN and Mediacom.
"I give him tremendous credit for changing the conversation," said Rod Sullivan, a Johnson County executive who introduced Sanders at a 2015 campaign stop and now supports Warren. "We have to do that kind of thing and I think there is a better way to do it now. Last time was a binary choice and this time I think there are better messengers."
Sanders campaign officials, rejecting the idea Sanders campaign announced last week that it has attracted 1 million individual donors, a historic brand that officials said is a strong sign of enthusiasm for his candidate candidacy.
"Unlike Bernie Sanders, polls are incompatible and everywhere, including an Iowa survey that came a few days ago," Sanders campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement. "We are doing well with our field operations in the state and our team working harder and harder every day to urge people to caucus for a once-in-a-lifetime candidate. "
Sanders comes in on Monday p a "Bernie Beats Trump" tour of the state, an attempt to claim that he is the most electoral choice against President Trump 2020. But his more immediate obstacle is Warren, who he has refrained from criticizing, though some of his surrogates have been more aggressive.  Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president Joe Biden wears a hat on the Beau Biden Foundation while speaking at the Polk County Democrats Steak Fry in Des Moines on Saturday. (Nati Harnik / AP)
Sanders has tried to stand out from the pack by emphasizing his decades-long advocacy for sweeping ideas like Medicare-for-all, something he did at a Sunday contest in Warren's childhood town of Norman, Okla.
"It is unique and perhaps unique in American history," Sanders said of his campaign when he encouraged supporters to join a nationwide grassroots movement. After they started singing his name, he replied, "It's not Bernie, it's you."
For loyal followers like C. J. Petersen of Breda, Iowa, Sanders deserves consistency at the cows. "Senator Warren is amazing," the 29-year-old said. "But Bernie has been on these issues from the beginning."
But for many others it is no longer enough. Matt Shockley, a 24-year-old Oklahoma City teacher who attended the Sanders gathering in Norman, said he voted for Sanders in 2016, but is now leaning against Warren.
"She is very warm as a person and she has her own type of charisma, he said." I think it will really help in general. And when it comes to politics, she and Bernie are so similar, it doesn't feel like there is much of a trade-off in voting for her over him. " led to burns, resignations, strained meetings and fierce rivalries, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
In New Hampshire, where Sanders defeated Clinton by 22 points but is now in close competition with Warren and Biden, Sanders has recently switched state directors. The operation had been tumultuous for months, said people with knowledge of the situation.
Some of the internal friction has touched the highest levels in A dispute over salaries earlier this year considered field staff for rank and file for campaign management. At a conference call the day after a Washington Post report on suspension, Shakir clearly warned all doctors to quickly leave the campaign and spoke in a tone that annoyed some participants, said people with knowledge of the call.
Post interviewed 30 present and former Sanders aides, allies and voters for this report. Many who described the tension in the campaign talked about the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation.
Warren has built a robust operation in Iowa that many local Democratic strategists said is the most impressive in the field. She has removed former Sanders supporters, including some of his earliest champions.
The Sanders campaign turned away questions about suspending its Iowa political head, Jess Mazour, in the late summer. "We will continue to take action that we feel is best positioning this campaign to win," Shakir said in a written statement after The Post contacted the campaign last week. Mazour did not respond to requests for comment.
Although friction and turnover are not uncommon in the president's high pressure environment, the disagreement in the Sanders operation has surprised some Democrats inside and outside the campaign. They say it reflects a deviation from Sanders effort in 2016.
"When the presidential campaigns go, Sanders 2016 campaign had less conflict than most," said Mark Longabaugh, a leading strategist on the run that abruptly shared paths with the campaign before Sanders entry into the race 2020.
Sanders campaign officials played down personnel changes, saying that his unique platform for demanding revolutionary change would eventually propel him to victory.
"Senator Sanders is very confident. He is doing well with the campaign. We think this race is dependent on the three people and we have the best ground game, ”the rep said. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), One of Sanders national co-chairs.
Khanna talked about Warren and Biden, who along with Sanders have appeared in the latest state and national investigations.
Inside the Sanders campaign in New Hampshire, there were questions at the top levels of the campaign from its earliest days. State Director Joe Caiazzo and senior strategist Kurt Ehrenberg, two veterans of the 2016 campaign, were in constant conflict, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
The situation of the workplace became so strained earlier this year that a staff member had to intervene, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Caiazzo and Ehrenberg refused to comment on this story. Caiazzo was recently assigned to run the Sanders campaign in Massachusetts and Ehrenberg is no longer with the campaign.
Shakir said the personnel decisions were not worrying. "We have built a good team in New Hampshire and are in a really strong position there," Shakir said in a statement explaining the moves.
But for some Sanders supporters, the New Hampshire Democratic Convention earlier this month served as a sober moment. In a state where Sanders won just over 60 percent of the vote in primary 2016, he was no longer the top listing.
Sanders took the stage in Manchester to a rousing ovation, to as many full chairs as anyone had then deserved, and to a room with waving signs bearing his name. It was higher than the reception greeting for someone else – until Warren took the stage to a two minute ovation not long after.
Janes reported from Norman, Okla.