Why Bernie Sanders Is Our Best Chance To Beat Donald Trump
Fmr. MSNBC host and Author of ‘Reversing the Apocalypse’
Hand-wringing over party unity misses the point. No one cares about your precious parties.
As Hillary Clinton joylessly stumbles her way to the Democratic nomination, calls have increased for Bernie Sanders to either drop out of the race altogether or, at least, to stop fighting so darn hard. We’re told that Bernie should drop out for the good of the party. Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can make her general election “pivot” . Bernie should drop out so that Hillary can focus on Trump. According to this logic, Bernie and his band of loyalists need to get pragmatic, face the music, have a reality check. Hogwash. Doesn’t anyone see what I see? Bernie Sanders is our best chance to beat Donald Trump and to prove to the young voters backing him that the Democratic party actually stands for something.
Error in thinking #1: Sanders supporters care about the existing system.
Error in thinking #2: Uniting around Clinton is the best shot to beat Trump.
So remind me again who has the best shot and who all patriotic Democrats must rally around for the good of saving the Republic from Trump?
Error in thinking #3: Winning is the only goal that matters.
So to the Bern-baby-Bern crowd I say, keep fighting. Your fight is worthy. Your cause is just. Your passionate existence irritates the Democratic powers that be because you remind them of all that they are supposed to stand for.
Sanders Voters Helped Trump Win The White House Could They Do It Again
WASHINGTON Joe Biden isn’t the only presidential candidate whose allies believe the votes of Bernie Sanders’ most dedicated supporters could hold the key to his November success. President Donald Trump and his supporters believe the same.
In 2016, about 216,000 Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin voters backed the Vermont senator in the spring and Trump in the fall, according to an analysis of exit polling well over twice the president’s total margin of victory in those states, which were critical to his electoral vote win in the face of a decisive popular vote loss.
If Sanders ultimately falls short again this time around, Trump’s allies hope history repeats itself with the senator’s most disaffected supporters but they won’t be leaving that prospect to chance, with a targeted effort underway by groups who support Trumps re-election to identify and target those voters.
Often, the public-facing pitch comes straight from the top.
“The last time we had a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters,” Trump said during a Phoenix television interview last month when asked if he thinks he can win over some of Sanders’ supporters if Sanders isnt the Democratic nominee in November. “I think if they take it away from him like they did the last time, I really believe you’re going to have a very riotous time in the Democrat Party.”
‘bernie Or Bust’ Won’t Beat Trump
None of this is meant to endorse any sort of hostage-taking Bernie or bust mentality.
His followers occasional threats to withhold support for their nonpreferred nominee are as unconscionable as theyd be from anyone who should oppose Trump, given the purposeful damage this president gleefully does to the most vulnerable. This spite along with a sometimes creepy hostility toward normie Democrats and a willingness to traffic in conspiratorial thinking that invests mystical sway in a sometimes comically inept Democratic National Committee offers some evidence that this movement may lack the coalition-building potential necessary to defeat Trump.
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But this divisiveness does not often appear in Sanders himself, who has a proven distaste for distractions like Hillary Clinton’s damn emails.
Like the vast majority of Sanders supporters in the 2016 election, Id gladly vote for any Democratic nominee over Trump. This senator isnt even my favorite senator running for the nomination. Yet one reason I have to seriously consider Sanders is that he has the clearest path to uniting the Democratic Party and ousting the evil clown in the Oval Office.
And if you only care about winning, you cant ignore that.
Jason Sattler, a writer based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is a member of USA TODAYs Board of Contributors and host of “The GOTMFV Show” podcast. Follow him on Twitter:
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Opinionbernie Sanders Must Drop Out Now Here’s What Happens To Progressives If He Won’t
Its been clear for some time that Sanders has very steadfast supporters, and their loyalty often tends to be to the man rather than his ideas, regardless of his slogan. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that, if Biden were to become the nominee, 15 percent of Sanders supporters would vote for Trump. By dropping out of the race now and enthusiastically stumping for Biden, Sanders would have an opportunity to help change that.
More importantly, the same ABC-Washington Post poll showed that, right now, 80 percent of Sanders supporters would back Biden in the general election if he were to be the nominee. And, at this point, Biden has a more than 300 delegate lead over Sanders, while a Washington Post-ABC News poll last week of Democratic leaning voters shows him with a 16 percent lead ahead of Sanders .
Meanwhile, two Democratic powerhouse organizations American Bridge and Unite the Country are joining forces to support Biden. Unite the Country already has ads running to highlight Trumps initial lackadaisical response to the coronavirus outbreak. Both groups plan to provide the resources Biden will need in a general election, because its evident that, in order for the Democrats to beat Trump, they’ll need to combine all their resources, rather than continue to spend them on a primary fight.
In other words, Democratic groups are consolidating in order to keep the eye on the prize which is, and should be, defeating Trump, full stop.
Bernie Started Winning Until He Didn’t
The first two primary contests in Iowa and New Hampshire were messy, but Sanders walked away a winner in both.
He defied expectations in the third, Nevada, by securing the normally-moderate Latino vote in overwhelming numbers. Turnout in the state broke records, in part thanks to Sanders’ appeal.
Everything changed with the fourth state, South Carolina, where 40 per cent of the Democratic electorate is African American. An overwhelming majority of that demographic coalesced around Joe Biden.
The win was so secure it was announced within the first two minutes of votes being counted.
It’d be tough to overstate how critical this vote looked to US politics watchers.
African American voters are among the most consistently Democratic, and a group historically shown to be harmed by a Republican president.
With Sanders still preaching his big policies, Biden’s win in South Carolina revealed that the voters at the core of the Democratic Party still had their minds set on one question: who would beat Trump?
Jason Johnson, former politics editor for the African American-focused publication The Root, put it this way:
“Voting for Bernie Sanders requires that black people believe that white people will do something they’ve never done: willingly and openly share the economic bounty of the United States.”
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How Huge Of A Turnout Surge Does Sanders Need To Be As Electable As A Moderate
The case that Bernie Sanders is just as electable as the more moderate candidates thus appears to rest on a leap of faith: that youth voter turnout would surge in the general election by double digits if and only if Bernie Sanders is nominated, compensating for the voters his nomination pushes to Trump among the rest of the electorate.
There are reasons to doubt a Sanders-driven youth turnout surge of this size would materialize. First, people who promise in surveys they will vote often dont, meaning the turnout estimates that Sanderss electability case rests upon are probably extremely inaccurate. Second, such a turnout surge is large in comparison to other effects on turnout. For example, Sanders would need to stimulate a youth turnout boost much larger than the turnout boost Barack Obamas presence on the ballot stimulated among black voters in 2008.
Third, Sanderss electability case requires this 11 percentage point turnout increase among young voters in 2020 to occur on top of any turnout increase that would otherwise occur if another Democrat were nominated.
And this enormous 11 percentage point turnout boost is only enough to make Sanders as electable as the more moderate candidates, given the other votes he loses to Trump. For him to be the most electable Democratic candidate based on his ability to inspire youth turnout, Sanderss nomination would need to increase youth turnout by even more.
Opinion: Bernie Sanders Cannot Beat Trump
Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., greets supporters during a rally at the Mesquite Arena Feb. 14 in Mesquite, Texas.
There is no question that Bernie Sanders is a draw of sorts and a solid base. He has promised free college tuition, canceling of student loans and Medicare for all. His only answer when asked where the money will come from is: We will get it from the rich, the Wall Street people and the billionaires who have stolen from you.
It sounds good to some people. His rallies, just like Trump, attract hardcore supporters who revel in Bernies frothing at the mouth, his white hair waving and his blasting income inequality, the rich and, of course, Donald Trump.
Bernie has the fundraising apparatus to stay in the race to the end, so why cant Bernie beat Trump?
Here is why.
Bernie calls himself a socialist. That will become an attack word for the Republicans. They will shift being a socialist to saying he is a communist a communist who wants to take your money and redistribute it so everyone is equal. Whether that is true or not wont matter since when did Trump ever tell the truth?
Next, Sanders will be skewered because of his age. Hes nearing 80 years old and he looks every bit of it. Then there is his health. Having had a heart attack, literally several months ago, is not a plus. Trump easily will depict him as a doddering old man.
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Bernie Sanders Can Beat Trump In November
In one way or another, every single Democratic candidate for president has proclaimed that they are the best person to beat Trump in November.
To understand which candidate is correct, voters should ask themselves not who is the best person to beat Trump, but rather what does it take to beat an incumbent president with almost limitless campaign funds and an energized base?
I would say that it takes a massive coalition of working people and the largest voter turnout in American history.
When I think about a successful coalition, what comes to mind is the 1981 mayoral election in the small New England town of Burlington, Vt. The four-term incumbent Democratic mayor was up against two independents, a businessman and a democratic socialist activist named Bernie Sanders.
Sanders had previously run for office four times, for governor and U.S. Senate. Though his previous attempts had been unsuccessful, what was noticeable was which demographics he was appealing to and where he had garnered the most support.
In a 1981 article, the New York Times wrote: Mr. Sanders put together an unlikely coalition that included poor peoples and tenants rights organizations, students and faculty members at the University of Vermont here and members of the Burlington Patrolmens Association and other city workers groups upset over pay and working conditions. You read that correctly, a self-described socialist earned the support of the conservative men in blue.
Against A Historically Weak Gop Nominee Could A Democratic Socialist Have Actually Prevailed
In fact, Trump has turned out to be such a surprisingly weak candidate, it seems possible or even plausible that Bernie Sanders, had he won the Democratic nomination, might at this very minute be mentally measuring the drapes for the Oval Office if Sanders cared about such things. After all, as Sanderistas liked to point out during the primary, Bernie consistently beat Trump in hypothetical matchups by wider margins than Clinton.
So in the parallel world where Sanders beat Clinton and Trump still won the GOP nomination, would Bernie be crushing Trump? If the presidential race were a likability contest, almost certainly. But if it were just a geniality pageant, Sanders would probably have won the Democratic nomination.
On the other hand, it’s hard to see Sanders winning much Republican support, even among Republicans disgusted by Trump. This might have helped Libertarian Gary Johnson in the parallel world, he doesn’t have Aleppo moments and runs a solid campaign but it’s hard to see Green Party nominee Jill Stein getting even her current 2-3 percent. Most Republicans would probably have stuck with Trump, as they are now, and most Democrats would likely have felt the Bern, enthusiastically or not. It would have been an embarrassment of riches for independents.
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Why Bernie Sanders Lost The Democratic Presidential Primary To Joe Biden
The year was 1981. The place was Burlington, Vermont. And Bernard Sanders had just been elected the city’s mayor by 10 votes, a race so close, and so full of novel ideas, that it drew national attention.
“The problem with the word socialism is that very often it gets equated to what’s going on in the Soviet Union with authoritarianism and totalitarianism and so forth,” he said in the chanty cadence and shouty tone he’d come to be known for.
“Do I believe the profit motive is fundamental to human nature? The answer is no. I believe the spirit of cooperation is stronger.”
Had you placed those Sanders comments in the year 1991 or 2016 or 2020, no-one would have blamed you.
Since that interview, the advent of his 40-year career in politics, Sanders has never once shied away from his ideas, using nearly every moment of his adult existence to fight for principles Americans consider too radical to put into practice.
His will of belief was seen as his strongest asset by his supporters. But it may well be the reason he couldn’t get the party to rally around him in the end.
On Thursday he ended his second campaign for president, opening the door for his moderate rival Joe Biden to win the nomination and take on Donald Trump.