And his moment looks nothing like what many people -- not even Bernie Sanders himself -- would likely have predicted for the super-serious Democratic socialist president candidate. Known for his dour, everything-is-awful approach to politics, Sanders has more recently become something else entirely. He has morphed into a kind of walking punchline for a joke that he is (sometimes) in on.
There is #BabiesForBernie, a viral Internet meme where toddlers embrace grandpa chic.
He "danced" on Ellen -- really, he just pointed and walked.
On Comedy Central's "The Nightly Show," Larry Wilmore easily convinced Sanders to don a pair of sunglasses. And with a slump, Sanders had the "Weekend at Bernie's" look down pat.
Just as Sanders embarks on his national close-up -- 15 million people watched the CNN debate -- he is now contending with (and embracing) a version of himself that is pure caricature.
Larry David on "Saturday Night Live"
went full Bernie with hardly any effort at all.
"Hello, hello, hello, enough with the hellos," David as Sanders said in the "SNL" debate send-up. "Let's do this."
And from there, David riffed on Sanders' get-off-my-lawn persona, shouting the entire time.
"We're doomed! We need a revolution! Millions of people on the streets! We gotta do something and we gotta do it now!"
Not to mention the underwear drying on the radiator image -- TMI and kinda perfect.
Returning the favor
, Sanders went on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" and went all meta, impersonating David, his doppelganger. Or perhaps he was just being Bernie Sanders. It was hard to tell.
His campaign says part of the flood of Sanders late night appearances is simply because he is getting invited -- which wasn't the case earlier.
"We have opportunities now that we didn't have before. We are getting invites," said Tad Devine, a senior Sanders adviser. "He is getting more comfortable doing stuff like that and he has come to accept that it's part of the process."
But the Sanders viewers are seeing isn't necessarily the one that has liberal voters excited. The Vermont senator got to where he is by being an unapologetic "democratic socialist," giving high-impact speeches on income inequality, campaign finance reform and the high cost of college education.
Then again, when shown the clip on ABC's "This Week," Sanders said David's "SNL" rendition of him -- the hands, the yelling, the Brooklyn accent -- was spot-on.
"I think we'll use Larry at our next rally," Sanders said. "He does me better than I do."