But none of this means that there isn't an upside. Sanders's presence in the race at least means that the primary campaign will feature candidates talking seriously about wealth inequality. (Talking seriously, meaning with an eye toward actually doing something about it rather than pandering in the way the Republican candidates already are and Hillary is likely to.)
There's also an audience for it. Sure there are a lot of crazy Republicans running but, it's not nothing that Bernie is outperforming several of them in terms of overall support.
Sanders, because he has a higher percentage of support in a slightly bigger pool of people, has more on-the-ground support at this moment than Christie or Ben Carson or Rick Perry. He has more than Fiorina, John Kasich, Bobby Jindal and Lindsey Graham combined.On the other hand, the agenda for discussion in the campaign is not set by relative support of the candidates as much as it is by the preferences and prejudices of the media gatekeepers.
The Bernie 2016 boomlet is clearly a bit puzzling to reporters, who don’t seem to know what to do with Sanders beyond treating him as a foil to Hillary, and so they default to doing nothing, even as every utterance of GOP candidates who are polling below 2 percent merits its own headline. There are clear double standards at play, and one of them pertains to how reporters cover a candidate who is unreservedly liberal versus how they cover “proudly conservative” Republicans.So the one good reason to have Bernie in the race at all.. to inject some measure of anti-oligarchic policy into the discourse.. is going to be largely ignored anyway. But never mind that. I'm sure Rick Santorum will have some entertaining things to say.