Suddenly, that's all changed. Just 20 days before the first nominating contest, the campaign of veteran leftie and heart attack survivor Bernie Sanders is scorching earth and showing he's ready to do anything to win.
National front-runner Joe Biden was in the firing line after the independent senator from Vermont leveraged the Iran crisis to remind everyone the former vice president voted to authorize the Iraq War.
And so much for that nonaggression pact between Sanders and fellow liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren. In a story first reported by Politico, Sanders' campaign slammed Warren as a candidate of the elite.
Now the senator from Massachusetts is seizing on a CNN report that Sanders once told her a woman can't win the presidency.
He denies it, but since the spat revives anger among female voters at how Sanders treated Hillary Clinton four years ago, it's too good for Warren to let go.
"I thought a woman could win; he disagreed," she said in a Monday night statement.
Sanders has the cash to stay in for the long haul and can genuinely claim to have moved the Democratic Party left. He's also got as good a chance as anyone to win in Iowa and New Hampshire next month. A pair of wins would electrify the Democratic grassroots and could doom Warren's bid to become the progressive champion against more moderate hopefuls like Biden and Pete Buttigieg.
But such upsets would also highlight a key question of this Democratic campaign — if the party goes all in with the left, will it scare off more moderate voters and hand reelection to Trump?
Expect more fireworks on stage tonight in Iowa, where CNN and the Des Moines Register
host the last Democratic debate before the first votes are cast.