Until the November election is over, I'm going to be in a perpetual state of political anxiety. Dumping Trump is super-important for lots of reasons, preserving our democracy from authoritarian rule being high on the list.
So obviously it's vital that the Democrats nominate someone who is well suited to defeat Trump. And that means winning the Electoral College, not just running up the score in the popular vote, because we saw how that worked for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.
In short, not well.
Which is why I worry most about Bernie Sanders being the Democratic candidate.
Yes, polls show him besting Trump nationally. But the election will be won, or lost, not on the basis of national popularity, but on how Trump and whoever the Dems choose does in a handful of swing states -- which means appealing to moderate voters.
He has said that he will govern as a Democrat if he becomes president, but he calls himself a democratic socialist and remains an independent. This is problematic. It seems to me that anyone who wants to be the Democratic presidential nominee should be proud about being a Democrat.
A recent poll found that 53% of Americans said they wouldn't vote for a socialist, while 45% said they would. This is bad news for Sanders, though it must bring a smile to Trump's face as he envisions running against an avowed socialist.
But according to a Gallup poll released Tuesday, Americans overwhelmingly are just fine with voting for a woman, as well as a black, Hispanic or (to a somewhat lesser extent) gay candidate. The sort of candidate a majority of Americans reject?
The category was the only one which had a majority of Americans, 53%, declaring they would not cast a ballot for a candidate so described (45% say they would vote for a well-qualified socialist).
Then there's the fact that based on Iowa and New Hampshire, Sanders isn't expanding the base of his support. Turnout was lackluster in both states, which diminishes the argument that nominating Sanders will energize young people and those who sat out the 2016 presidential election.
Jennifer Rubin talks about this in a Washington Post opinion piece, "Bernie Sanders has some problems."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) won the New Hampshire primary in such an underwhelming fashion — the second less-than-impressive outing in what should have been two of his easiest states — that it bears consideration as to whether he is actually best positioned to win the race.
Turnout in New Hampshire did not significantly increase from 2016 to 2020, even though there was no competitive Republican primary to draw independent voters. Sanders has twice now failed to produce a promised wave of voters. Without such an influx of voters, his electability argument crumbles.
He must either appeal to a greater share of Democrats and independents than other candidates (which currently is not remotely the case), or he must bring in a flood of new voters (which also is not happening). In short, his ceiling is still stuck around 25 percent, just as it has been from the onset of the race.
Also worrisome is that at 53%, Sanders supporters are the least likely to say they will support the eventual Democratic presidential nominee even if it is not their favored candidate. (Yang supporters were even less, at 50%, but Yang has dropped out of the race.)
Sanders needs to do a better job of telling his supporters that they absolutely, positively, without-a-doubt have to vote for whoever the Dems nominate, because the alternative is another four years of Trump.
This points to the rigidity and fanaticism of much of Sanders' base, the so-called "Bernie Bros."
They've been attacking the Nevada Culinary Union after the union pointed out that Sanders' Medicare for All proposal threatened the private heath insurance plan that union members currently have and like.
Argüello-Kline added: “Workers should have the right to choose to keep the health care Culinary Union members have built, sacrificed for, and went on strike for 6 years, 4 months and 10 days to protect.”
“It’s disappointing that Senator Sanders’ supporters have viciously attacked the Culinary Union and working families in Nevada simply because our union has provided facts on what certain health care proposals might do to take away the system of care we have built over eight decades,” she said, noting that Sanders had participated in Culinary town halls and toured the union’s facilities.
Lastly, I'm dubious that what American voters are looking for is a different old, angry-sounding, white guy to replace the current old, angry-sounding, white guy who inhabits the White House.
(If Sanders ends up becoming president, naturally I'll be pleased to take back those words and admit I was wrong.)