Iowa Democratic voter to CNN: “I  think it would be suicide” to nominate Bernie Sanders.

Ask yourself this question: why have Republicans stayed largely silent about Bernie Sanders while collectively bashing Hillary Clinton? Better yet, why were Republicans blasting out pro-Bernie press releases during the last Democratic debate?

Simple: they are on their knees praying for Sanders to defeat their most feared opponent.

And who knows this better than anyone? Tad Devine, Bernie’s top adviser, who worked in John Kerry’s 2004 war room not ten feet from my desk. Tad was powerless as Kerry, our boss, a decorated Vietnam veteran who volunteered for duty, was effectively framed as a traitor and a coward by the powerful rightwing messaging machine.

As Kerry was swiftboated and slammed as a flip-flopper, aides like Devine, who now guides Bernie, redefined the phrase “deer in headlights.” As Kerry saw his life’s work become a punch line, George W. Bush waltzed back into the White House, leaving a mess we’re still cleaning up.

Here we are 12 years later, with Bernie taking cheap shots at Hillary (comparing her to Cheney), hoping to become the Democratic nominee. If he ever gets the nod, he’ll likely face a demagogue like Donald Trump, a man who shouldn’t get within 100 miles of the nuclear button.

Anyone who is lulled by polls showing Bernie competitive with the Republican candidates is living in a fantasy world.

When the conservative machine cranks up and kicks into high gear, Bernie will be eviscerated, turned into an aging cartoon Commie, a flip-flopping America-hater, a 60s holdover writing bizarre essays about free sex and child rape fantasies, a non-Democrat Democrat whose embrace of the NRA undermines his claims to purity, a politician who voted against the Amber Alert system, a draft dodger, and a man who thinks women’s rights are a distraction.

Tad Devine knows this as well as I do: there’s an entire library of fresh, juicy opposition research on Bernie Sanders tucked away in RNC headquarters, awaiting the mother of all oppo drops.

I have a young daughter whose future will be determined by this election. That’s why I advocate so forcefully for Hillary, one of the most prepared, qualified, tested, experienced, and brilliant candidates ever to run for the presidency. Democrats need Hillary’s strength and indomitability in the face of what will be a colossal effort by the right to take back the White House.

Don’t be fooled by the GOP silence. If Bernie prevails in the primaries, Democrats can kiss the presidency goodbye. And frighteningly, perhaps a lot more than the presidency.