I don't believe your last statement to be accurate.
People like Sanders because he represents an emotional feeling of "fair". It's not "fair" that some people are rich and you're not. Those people make too much money, and Sanders was all about taking their money and giving you things he thinks you should have with that money. Sanders was not about what is constitutionally allowed or reasonable to everyone - he was all about taking from the haves and giving to the have nots. As they say, he who borrows from peter to pay paul can always count on the support of paul.
The problems with Sanders' approach is that it doesn't work when the rubber hits the road, and hurts everyone in the long run.
I think the statement is inaccurate because I believe we have more than enough people with sufficient common sense that if the election were on Sanders' issues, Sanders would have had the vote of the college kids and welfare folks, and that's about it.
I guess we will have to agree to disagree, Sanders would have gotten most if not all of the votes that Hillary got, which as they brag on was a majority of the popular vote, plus he would have gotten some votes from people who voted against Hillary and not really FOR Trump.
I agree with everything else you said. Sanders was a bad candidate and IMO only ran because the field was wide open.
If there had been any other worthwhile candidates from the Dems Sanders would never have ran.
His candidacy gave him a nice piece of change coming in from his supporters, he lived high on the hog while campaigning, his ego was boosted, and he got a nice vacation home from Hillary when he quit and backed her.
His upside went from an Independent no one ever knew, ever heard of, never had a bill passed to runner.