CHARLESTON, South Carolina — It's a cliché that after every presidential debate, campaign advisers head to the "spin room" to declare to reporters that "there was only one president on the stage tonight," and it was the candidate they work for.
But at the NBC News/YouTube debate here Sunday night, Bernie Sanders won by sounding more revolutionary than presidential. That's no surprise for Sanders, who has adopted the posture of an outsider insurgent for his entire career and made "political revolution" a slogan of his 2016 presidential campaign.
But with the possibility that he could make it to the White House no longer unfathomable, does Bernie Sanders actually want to be president?
It's a seemingly stupid question to ask about a person who has worked themselves to the point of exhaustion every day for the past eight months to achieve that goal. But when Sanders got into the 2016 race with an announcement at a hastily arranged press conference behind the Capitol building in April, everyone assumed the answer was obviously "no."
While he denied it, of course, the world assumed that Sanders was there to influence the political conversation, raise issues important to his movement, and to push presumed nominee Hillary Clinton to the left. Many compared him to Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican who ran for president twice — with no hope of winning — on a message of revolution.