The last time Bernie Sanders ran for president, he was treated like a pariah within the Senate Democratic Caucus: His colleagues thought his campaign was a liberal fantasy that served only to damage Hillary Clinton.
This time, though, the Vermont independent is getting a warmer reception from the senators who constitute much of the Democratic establishment he's railed against.
Senate Democrats say they’re open to getting behind Sanders if he appears the strongest candidate a year from now. And there’s no whiff of an effort to deny him the nomination, according to interviews with more than 20 Democratic senators.
It's not that the Democratic Caucus is rallying behind him; most of its members would prefer a more mainstream nominee, even if they're unwilling to say it at this point. But they're giving Sanders props for what he's accomplished and say if he's able to win the nomination, more power to him.