The speculation about Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, and practically every single Democrat as potential Democratic presidential contenders, most of the political class is ignoring the elephant in the room. Bernie Sanders is by all means the most popular politician in US, by far Democrats’ most in-demand public speaker, and the most prolific grassroots fundraiser in American history.

It’s time to take Bernie Sanders seriously because The Democratic Party establishment is in more worse shape than it realizes. Everyone inside The Democratic Party thinks that he’s too old and obviously won’t run. If he was at least 10 years younger, his absence from a 2020 cattle call held by the Center for American Progress back in May would have been glaring.

Sanders is doing exactly what every serious candidate who want to run a second time would do. Establishing a national political organization, traveling and talking about the issues all over the country the country, improved his ties with colleagues on Capitol Hill, and maintained a heavy presence in national media.

He even shifted his policy commitments to the center, making himself a more broadly acceptable figure in The Democratic Party. At the same time, Sanders held on to a couple of signature issues — Medicare-for-all and tuition-free public college — that give him exactly the kind of clear-cut and broadly accessible agenda that mainstream Democrats lack.

If he were to run and win, he’d be 78 years old, the oldest US President on record. But Bernie’s recent moves suggest that he is both interested in the nomination and very much the candidate to beat for it.