Bernie Vs The Billionaire
Perhaps the most promising feature of this scenario, though, is the vivid contrast made possible by a binary choice between Sanders and Trump.
Because Bernies politics emphasize class conflict, a Trump-Sanders contest promises to be not a mere clash of values and norms, of milieus and manners, but a referendum on the role of the rich and the rest in our society, with each contender representing different sides of the divide.
Sanders has already given us a preview of what this will look like. When he launched his campaign in March, he contrasted his upbringing to Trumps, saying, I did not have a father who gave me millions of dollars to build luxury skyscrapers, casinos, and country clubs. I did not come from a family that gave me a $200,000 allowance every year beginning at the age of three.
He continued, Unlike Donald Trump, who shut down the government and left 800,000 federal employees without income to pay their bills, I know what its like to be in a family that lives paycheck-to-paycheck.
In a rhetorical flourish that underscored the social implications of Trumps profiteering and juxtaposed them to his own lifelong commitment to equality, Sanders added, I did not come from a family that taught me to build a corporate empire through housing discrimination. I protested housing discrimination, was arrested for protesting school segregation.
Bernie Is The Candidate Who Can Beat Trump Heres Why
Do you want to see Donald Trump defeated in 2020? Of course you do. The candidate who is best positioned to do exactly that: Bernie Sanders.
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In the race for the Democratic nomination, one figure towers above the field: the large, misshapen form of President Donald Trump. The trauma of Trumps shock victory in November 2016, and the reign of greed, brutality, and arrogance that has followed seemingly impervious to organized opposition has given Trump a special standing among Democrats.
The polls are unanimous: a healthy majority of Democratic primary voters say that it is more important to find a candidate who can beat Trump than one who they agree with on the issues. This is not a standard view for voters opposed to an incumbent president. On the eve of his 2004 re-election campaign, for instance, fewer than half of all Democrats said the same about George W. Bush.
Across the primary campaign, Bernie Sanders and many of his supporters have argued that it is not enough to defeat Trump: we need to organize to transform the abysmal economic conditions that produced Trump, too. This is all very true.
But this primary season, anxious Democrats should trust their guts. It turns out that the candidate they like best, Bernie Sanders, is also the candidate with the best chance to knock Trump out of the White House.
Racial Regional Differences Appear To Favor Biden For Now
Bidens resurgence in South Carolina on Feb. 29 and several other states has been credited to a wave of support from black voters. In North Carolina and Alabama, two states that voted on Super Tuesday that have sizable black populations, Biden won among blacks handily with 62% of the black vote in North Carolina and 72% in Alabama.
In Michigan, according to the poll, Biden clearly wins among black voters, leading Sanders 46%-24%. But with 25% still undecided, the poll suggests that the level of support might not be as high as in other states.
That may be part of the reason that both candidates were trying to shore up their standing with African Americans on Sunday, with Sanders announcing the endorsement of civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and Biden getting the endorsement of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, a former candidate herself who is set to appear at a Detroit rally for Biden Monday night.
The support among black voters also bodes well for Biden in another state voting Tuesday, Mississippi.
Biden also announced the launching of a $12 million media campaign across eight states, including Michigan.
The poll showed whites in Michigan favored Biden 56%-26% for Sanders, with 9% going to other candidates and 10% undecided. Compare that to exit polls four years ago that showed Sanders winning among whites 56%-42%.
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United States Presidential Election
|President before election|
The tone of the general election campaign was widely characterized as divisive and negative. Trump faced controversy over his views on race and immigration, incidents of violence against protestors at his rallies, and numerous sexual misconduct allegations including the Access Hollywood tape. Clinton’s popularity and public image were tarnished by concerns about her ethics and trustworthiness, and a controversy and subsequent FBI investigation regarding her improper use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state, which received more media coverage than any other topic during the campaign.
Clinton led in almost every nationwide and swing-state poll, with some predictive models giving Clinton over a 90 percent chance of winning. On Election Day, Trump over-performed his polls, winning several key swing-states, while losing the popular vote by 2.87 million votes. Trump received the majority in the Electoral College and won upset victories in the pivotal Rust Belt region. Ultimately, Trump received 304 electoral votes and Clinton 227, as two faithless electors defected from Trump and five from Clinton. Trump was the first president with neither prior public service nor military experience.
Super Tuesday Turnout Suggests Biden Is A Better Bet To Beat Trump Than Sanders
One question has dominated this years crowded, confusing Democratic presidential primary:
Which one of these people has the best chance of defeating President Trump?
Just days ago, it seemed as if Democrats might never settle on an answer. There were six major candidates still in the race. Joe Biden had yet to win a contest. Mike Bloomberg loomed large. Bernie Sanders was the tentative frontrunner.
But Bidens 28-point victory in South Carolina on Saturday triggered one of the most rapid turnarounds in recent political history, and by the time the dust settled on Super Tuesday, Biden had swept Southern states that had been toss-ups as recently as last weekend and Northern states that had looked like locks for his rivals .
Biden won Texas, a state where Sanders led in eight of the last nine polls, and looked likely to hold Sanders to a single-digit margin of victory in California, a state where Sanders had hoped to amass an insurmountable delegate lead.
All of a sudden, Biden seemed to have the clearer path to the nomination and to beating Trump. Thats because the results on Super Tuesday the closest thing to a national primary in American politics validated the former vice presidents claim to electability and undermined his rivals.
It doesn’t seem great for Sanderss electability narrative that turnout seems to be increasing more in states where he isnt doing as well, said analyst Nate Silver, founder of the data journalism site FiveThirtyEight.
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Class Politics At Scale
Our enthusiasm about a possible Sanders versus Trump contest isnt confined to the prospect that Sanders will win. HowSanders can beat Trump has enormous implications for the future of American politics.
First, we should remember a simple fact of scale, easy to forget if you follow politics as a vocation or an obsession: general elections are much, much larger than primaries.
About 31 million people voted in the 2016 Democratic primary, one of the most hotly contested nominating contests in U.S. history. Over 136 million voted in the general election. The same ratio applies to campaign spending: together, Clinton and Sanders spent about $445 million in their primary race. In the general election, Clinton and Trump spent about $1.8 billion.
Using the 2016 primary race as his platform, Sanders was able to demonstrate that radical left-wing ideas like Medicare For All, tuition-free public college, and a $15 minimum wage actually had an enormous base of support, far beyond any niche of self-defined progressives. This revelation has already left a deep imprint on the Democratic Party which has absorbed much of Sanderss program, either in fact or in rhetoric and will probably shape American politics for years to come.
A Sanders general election campaign would present an opportunity of the same kind, but on a scale roughly four times as large.
Back To The Polls For Bernie
Just as important as Obama-Trump voters are the millions of Obama voters who did not cast a ballot in 2016. Any good autopsy of the last presidential election will emphasize that turnout in key states was dismal. In Wisconsin, for example, turnout was down 3 percent from 2012, and in Ohio it was down 4 percent. In order to win, those margins need to be recovered or exceeded by Trumps opponent in 2020.
Some commentators are quick to attribute low turnout in 2016 to restrictive voting laws, implying that nothing can be done to bring voters back to the polls. But then how to explain the fact that 1.7 million people cast incomplete ballots in these states and others, declining to vote for any presidential candidate far more than had been the case in 2012?
In Michigan, Donald Trump won by about ten thousand votes, while seventy-five thousand people cast ballots but declined to register a presidential preference. Meanwhile, nearly 3 million eligible voters didnt even bother to go to the polls.
The Pew Research Center found that, nationwide, non-voters top reason for abstaining in 2016 was that they did not like candidates or campaign issues. Twenty-five percent of nonvoters cited distaste for both candidates as their rationale for staying home, compared to only 13 percent in 2012 and 8 percent in 2000.
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Does Sanderss Support Have A Ceiling
I shudder to ask the question in part because of bad memories from four years ago, when theories about Donald Trumps ceiling were a big reason that people like me initially dismissed his chances in the primaries.
In Trumps case, though, there was at least some polling-driven evidence of a ceiling. He tended to lose ground in polls that asked about hypothetical head-to-head matchups against other Republicans, for instance. And his favorability ratings among Republican voters were quite low for someone who was leading the field.
There isnt much evidence of this for Sanders. His favorability ratings are roughly as good as any other Democrats and often the best in the field, depending on which poll you look at.
Its also worth mentioning that Sanders gets a lot of support from younger African Americans and Hispanics, making his coalition among the most diverse in the race. Granted, he does have very little support from voters over the age of 65, but of all demographic deficiencies, that may be one of the easier ones to overcome. There are plenty of young voters in every state, provided you can turn them out.
Additionally, a set of YouGov polls last week showed Sanders winning in hypothetical head-to-head matchups against every other Democrat narrowly beating former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren while more clearly defeating Buttigieg, Klobuchar and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Uncertainty Clouds Democrats Decision About Candidates
Nationscape data points to Sanders making further gains among young voters, particularly non-white voters and those without a college degree. By contrast, Biden is doing better with older and higher income voters as well as whites with a college education precisely the voters who fueled Democratic House gains in the suburbs during the 2018 midterms.
Unlike Trumps remaking of the Republican coalition in 2016, Sanders does not appear to have a unique advantage among all members of the working class in having a stronger preference for him over a more conventional member of his party. Only the youngest working-class voters have a definite preference for Sanders right now.
That said, current survey data cannot perfectly predict what the coalitions different candidates would bring with them to the 2020 general election. They do, however, highlight demographic opportunities for both parties depending on the Democratic nominee. Given that the demographic differences observed in the Nationscape survey map cleanly onto the distinct messages being put forward by the candidates, these differences are likely to endure in some form.
Patrick Ruffini is a co-founder of Echelon Insights, a next-generation polling, analytics, and intelligence firm. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the collective Voter Study Group.
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Rousing The Slumbering Giant
But perhaps the strongest argument for Bernie Sanders concerns a much larger group than any slice of disaffected Obama voters: the tens of millions of people, over 40 percent of the country, who typically do not vote in presidential elections.
American nonvoters, including nonvoters in the battleground states, are disproportionately young, non-white, and working-class. Bernie is distinctly popular with all of these groups, suggesting that he is by far our best shot to mobilize this vast slumbering army in a general election against Trump.
In the 2016 primaries, more people under thirty voted for Sanders than Trump and Clinton combined. Today, Sanders is the overwhelming favorite in the Democratic Party primary among young people. Trumps approval rating among people under thirty is pathetic, but as we learned four years ago, thats no guarantee that every young person who scorns Trump will show up to vote against him.
Democrats have a choice: either nominate a challenger who excites young people and can turn them out en masse, or hand the nomination to someone who doesnt motivate them, greasing the wheels for a Trump victory.
And finally, an umbrella category: Sanders is the candidate of the working class, which encompasses most young and non-white people but also plenty of older white people too.
Bernie Sanders can draw people who dont normally vote out of the woodwork. Nobody else can.
Beliefs And Policies Of Candidates
Hillary Clinton focused her candidacy on several themes, including raising middle class incomes, expanding women’s rights, instituting campaign finance reform, and improving the Affordable Care Act. In March 2016, she laid out a detailed economic plan basing her economic philosophy on inclusive capitalism, which proposed a “clawback” that rescinds tax cuts and other benefits for companies that move jobs overseas with provision of incentives for companies that share profits with employees, communities and the environment, rather than focusing on short-term profits to increase stock value and rewarding shareholders as well as increasing collective bargaining rights and placing an “exit tax” on companies that move their headquarters out of the U.S. in order to pay a lower tax rate overseas. Clinton promoted equal pay for equal work to address current alleged shortfalls in how much women are paid to do the same jobs men do, promoted explicitly focus on family issues and support of universal preschool, expressed support for the right to same-sex marriage, and proposed allowing undocumented immigrants to have a path to citizenship stating that it “s at its heart a family issue.”
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