As Sen. Bernie Sanders appeared headed for a decisive victory Saturday in the Nevada caucuses, MSNBC host Chris Matthews pondered whether President Donald Trump's re-election might be better for the Democratic establishment than the Vermont senator's multiracial, multigenerational movement taking over the party.
"I'm wondering if Democratic moderates want Bernie Sanders to be President?" said Matthews. "Maybe that's too exciting a question to raise."
"Do they want Bernie to take over the Democratic Party in perpetuity? Maybe they'd rather wait 4 years and put in a Democrat that they like," Matthews added.
Matthews, who said on February 7 that he feared a Sanders presidency would result in mainstream pundits being executed in Central Park, made the remarks about 37 minutes before the caucuses began at noon Pacific time.
Mask off: Chris Matthews suggests Democratic establishment better off with four more years of Trump than Sanders movement reshaping party.— Eoin Higgins (@EoinHiggins_) February 22, 2020
"This is what happens when you and your network are in a complete panic-riddled meltdown," said Intercept journalist Jeremy Scahill. "You say the quiet part out loud on national TV."
The remarks from Matthews, an MSNBC stalwart, were not the only instance of the network taking a jaundiced view of what was shaping up to be a big day for Sanders. Anchor Chris Jansing, reporting from Las Vegas, appeared to give a deep sigh at results showing large support for the Vermont senator among voters of color.
"Come on my fellow journalists!" tweeted Sanders press secretary Briahna Joy Gray. "Let's try to keep it together!"
MSNBC is like the 700 Club for establishment Democrats.— jeremy scahill (@jeremyscahill) February 23, 2020
Though most Sanders supporters and observers found Matthews' comments amusing, the campaign's national organizing director Claire Sandberg pointed out that the longtime MSNBC host's remarks hinted at a deeper, fundamental problem with the Democratic establishment.
Matthews also compared Sanders' landslide victory in Nevada to the Nazis taking control of France.
Chris Matthews just compared Bernie's victory in Nevada to the Nazis taking control of France.— Justice Democrats (@justicedems) February 22, 2020
Incredibly offensive thing to say about someone from a family of holocaust survivors. pic.twitter.com/t29L4K4iHm
"With families being ripped apart every day, tens of thousands of people dying from lack of healthcare every year, the window for climate action rapidly closing, and the future of our democracy at stake, they would rather have four more years of Trump than have Bernie," said Sandberg.