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Gottinger writes: "Sen. Sanders' poll numbers have seen a steady rise over the last few months. A new poll released today shows Bernie leading Vice President Joe Biden nationally among registered voters."

Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)
Sen. Bernie Sanders. (photo: Antonella Crescimbeni)

Democratic Primary Voters Should Back the Candidate Who Terrifies Trump: Bernie Sanders

By Paul Gottinger, Reader Supported News

18 January 20


enator Sanders’s poll numbers have seen a steady rise over the last few months. A new poll released today shows Bernie leading Vice President Joe Biden nationally among registered voters. A whole host of recent polls have shown Bernie leading or near the top in early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and the delegate-rich state of California, which begins voting on the same day as Iowa.

With his rise in the polls, the media has begun to change its tune on Bernie. The corporate media’s blackout of Bernie coverage has transformed into a mix of handwringing over his serious shot to lock up the nomination, outright fear, and a few reluctant admissions about the strength of his chances against Trump.

Bernie raised more cash than any other Democratic primary candidate in 2019 and has been racking up endorsement after endorsement from progressive organizations. In the last week alone, Sanders has been endorsed by Sunrise Movement (organization of young climate activists), Dream Defenders (Florida-based collection of activists that focuses on criminal justice reform), Make the Road Action (national immigrant rights group), the black caucus for the largest county in Nevada, Nevada’s largest teacher’s union, and a New Hampshire branch of the SEIU union, and even a public transit enthusiast Facebook meme page.

Senator Sanders has also had opportunities recently to present himself as “presidential.” His clear and quick condemnation of Trump’s illegal assassination of the Iranian General Qassem Soleimani marked a major difference from the other Democratic candidates, whose statements were longwinded, confused, and seemed only to object to the “process” undertaken rather than Trump’s reckless act of war.

Despite Bernie’s clear rise in the polls and major momentum gains, the primary is still a four-person race. Mayor Buttigieg, Senator Warren, Vice President Biden, and Senator Sanders all have a shot at the Democratic nomination for president.

Despite this, there is one person who been paying close attention to Bernie’s campaign since long before his recent surge: Donald Trump.

As early as mid-2019, Donald Trump privately told donors that he thought Bernie’s platform would be very difficult to beat. According to a person in the room, Trump said, “if candidates tell Americans, especially young voters—that they’re going to cancel their debt, ‘that’s a tough one’ to run against.”

In April 2019, it was reported that Trump would randomly bring up Bernie unprompted and admit there is “a lot of potential for the senator to win over Trump voters with his populist appeal.”

Trump also mentioned how he was impressed with Bernie’s crowd sizes, his small-dollar fundraising, and the passion of his supporters.

In April of 2019, Bernie had a very successful town hall event hosted by Fox News. Shortly after the town hall, Trump sent out a tweet criticizing Fox for having Bernie on. Bernie’s campaign manager, Faiz Shakir, said of the Trump tweet,

“It did seem like a bit of a panic and a bit of fear that came through his tweets and rightly so. Because I do think what you saw in the Fox News appearance was what will end up being a very intentional and successful outreach by Sen. Sanders to voters who may have either voted for Donald Trump, may have had some sympathy or empathy towards him, and have since soured on him. Donald Trump, for as wild as his Twitter account is, I do think that what you get out of it is a sense that he understands that Bernie Sanders is a bit of a wild card. He doesn’t know how to deal with him.”

We should also recall how in 2016, Trump backed out after Bernie accepted his offer to have a one on one debate with him.

Now in 2019, Trump has recently begun mentioning Bernie regularly at his rallies, and according to a recent article, Trump’s campaign messaging has begun to really focus on criticizing him.

Just this week, another report came out that Trump is getting very worried about Bernie’s poll numbers in the battleground states vital to his reelection.

Jim Zogby, a national surrogate for Sanders, said this week, “Bernie’s appeal is to multi-ethnic and white working-class voters across the board. That is the crowd that the Democratic Party handed to Trump on a platter and Bernie is in effect saying, ‘Thank you, I’ll take that.’”

Senator Sander’s internal polling has consistently shown him above Trump, and a new poll from Morning Consult found Bernie beating Trump by four points, and way ahead of Biden with independents and young Democrats.

Eli Yokley of Morning Consult dismissed the idea that Democrats nominating Senator Sanders would be a risky bet.

“Sanders performs better than his rivals, including front-runner Joe Biden, with groups viewed as key to beating the unpopular incumbent."

In the 206 counties that swung from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016, Bernie has nearly three times the number of campaign donors as Biden and the other democratic candidates. Bernie has also consistently outperformed Democratic presidential candidates when running for statewide races in Vermont.

In 2004, Senator Sanders received 67 percent of the votes to John Kerry’s 59 percent in Vermont, and in 2012, he got 71 percent to Obama’s 67 percent.

The enthusiasm that a Bernie candidacy would bring to the presidential election would likely bring in many new voters to the Democratic Party, which is something that may be necessary to defeat Trump in the all-important swing states of the Midwest.

In many ways, Trump is clearly not very bright; however, he’s also proven in many ways to have exceptionally astute political instincts. I mean it says something about his political skills that Trump, as a complete political novice, wiped the floor with an entire field of professional Republican politicians in addition to Hillary Clinton, a powerful member of the Clinton Democratic machine.

My suggestion for Democratic primary voters is to back the candidate that Trump is most afraid of running against. Vote for Bernie Sanders.

Paul Gottinger is a University of Wisconsin alumni and contributing reporter and editor to RSN. My work focuses on police misconduct, human rights and American foreign policy. I'm proud to work for a donor-driven media organization and grateful for readers' continued support, which keeps RSN strong and editorially independent.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner
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