If he wins the nomination, whether outright or at the Democratic Party convention this summer, Senator Bernie Sanders will be the most left-wing politician ever nominated for president and the only self-described “socialist” to ever run on the ballot line for either of the two major parties.
Many Democrats, especially moderates, think this is a disaster in waiting. They look back to 1972, when a different left-wing senator, George McGovern of South Dakota, was crushed by Richard Nixon, losing his home state and 48 others. They see a winnable election against a vulnerable incumbent potentially squandered by a candidate with radical views. They think Sanders will not only give Trump a victory, but a decisive one.
This could happen, but it probably won’t. The persistent belief that Sanders is unelectable is unfounded. The evidence says he can win.
The first step to winning is unifying the party, and Sanders can do that. He has a higher favorability rating among Democratic voters than any other candidate. A recent Monmouth University poll gives him a net rating of 53 points (72 percent favorable to 19 percent unfavorable) compared with 48 points for Elizabeth Warren and 38 points for former Vice President Joe Biden.
Quinnipiac shows a similar spread, as well as strong ratings from moderate and conservative Democrats. And the vast majority of Democrats, 93 percent, say they would back Sanders against Trump. As a point of comparison, 88 percent say the same for Pete Buttigieg. [Continue reading…]