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I'm a longtime fan of Hillary and I deal with a lot of conservative republicans where I work and we often have lively email exchanges about politics. And although they would never admit it, there is a definite thread of respect that seems to be growing among them for Sanders. Part of it is disgust with their own selection on the right and a visceral distaste for Hillary they have (threatens their male dominated power structure). And Sanders seems to be a decent guy, who even though they may not agree with politically, at least represents their power structure - middle aged and older white men who know what's best. Hence the longing even on the right for Biden to enter the race.
Lastly, Sanders has tapped into that excitement on the left that Obama generated somehow in 08 and the more I think about it, it's because he, as did Obama, reflects an untainted and unapologetic progressive ideology that people feel Hillary drags down because of the past, fairly or unfairly.
Just my .02 scattered all over.