A Bernie Sanders optimist could take comfort from the Washington Post over the past few days. Today the paper reports that the Republican nomination is becoming a Trump-Cruz race. Yesterday the Post headlined that Clinton's lead over Sanders is "evaporating". Polling trends so far show that Sanders is a credible candidate against either Trump or Cruz. The optimist could revel in the December Quinnipiac poll that showed Sanders 13 points ahead of Trump but would also have to take note that the same poll has Cruz ahead of Sanders by one point. The optimist might also not want to pay too much attention to the favorable trend toward Cruz in recent weeks.
This early, any long-term prediction from these results are hardly definitive. What I do see is that Bernie Sanders is currently credible candidate against any Republican. That may change but in a year when everyone is angry and anti-establishment Democrats could do worse than to nominate a candidate who is challenging that establishment.
Yesterday's headline is ironically apocalyptic: "Clinton's lead is evaporating, and anxious Democrats see 2008 all over again". If I were a Democrat reflecting on the 2008 election, I would recall that the my presidential candidate energized the electorate to win a convincing victory. My party increased its majorities in the House and Senate, achieving a near filibuster-proof Senate majority.
If I were a Democrat these days, I would be more anxious if my candidate were an establishment figure that cannot energize the electorate.