A pervasive theme perpetuated in the media and by some others goes like this: Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders (I-VT) cannot win a general election. Sanders has been constantly fending off these kinds of attacks, sticking true to his message and is reaping the rewards in the polls. Yesterday on Meet The Press, a surging Sanders announced would beat Republican primary front-runner Donald Trump “badly” in a head-to-head matchup.
In fact, Sanders noted that against Trump:
“we were 15 points ahead of him nationally…In tossup states, battleground states like Iowa and New Hampshire, we are even further ahead of him…There is nothing more in this world that I would like to take on more than Donald Trump..We would beat him, and we would beat him badly.”
The media, as we noted in early November, had been silent as Sanders overtook Trump in every major poll. At that time we noted that, according to some data in RealClear Politics polling, in a general election pitting Sanders against Trump, Sanders is up by 9 points, 50 percent to 41 percent. The most recent polling shows Sanders up by as much as 15 points in some polls, extending his lead over Trump to 54 percent versus 39 perecent.
In the two-plus months since, Sanders has extended his lead significantly in a head-to-head matchup against Trump, interestingly, the Republican Party – which did not take a Sanders’ candidacy seriously for a long time – is now taking notice. Last week, The WSJ Editorial Board wrote: “It’s time to take Bernie Sanders seriously. The Vermont Senator is leading in Iowa and New Hampshire and in Sunday’s debate he sounded for the first time like a candidate who thinks he can win…but it’s no longer impossible to imagine the 74-year-old socialist as the Democratic nominee.”
It has been fashionable for Bernie’s detractors to both label him a socialist and to juxtapose his ideas against Trump’s, proclaiming that both men tap into the public dissatisfaction with the status quo. But consider what Bernie has stood for – for 50 years – and to whom a Sanders candidacy appeals. Consider his unwavering support for civil and human rights, economic equality, and social justice . Yes, those that ‘feel-the-Bern’ are dissatisfied with the status quo. Because it has come to mean overwhelming support for a few uber-powerful crony capitalists – multinational corporations and their controlling oligarchs – the puppet-masters that pull the strings of Republican elected officials – who only know how to put forth policies calling for tax cuts for the wealthy at the expense of the social safety-net programs designed to help the poor and middle-class.
As Bernie noted, Trump is “a guy who does not want to raise the minimum wage but wants to give hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the two two-tenths of one percent who thinks wages in America are too high and who thinks that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.” Consider Trump’s unwavering appeal to festering hatred and to resentment – an appeal (if polls are accurate) to the base instincts of a surprisingly large number of racist Americans. This constituency’s dissatisfaction with the status quo, however, scapegoats President Barack Obama, an African American man whose race they counted as his first demerit. They misguidedly see the president challenging their freedom, because Trump and the rest of the Republican Party claim he is bent on taking away their guns and outlawing their freedom of religion. President Obama, who never loses sight of our country’s roots, believes we are a nation of immigrants who have always opened our doors to those in need. Trump is a man who bragged this weekend of his supporters: “I have the most loyal people, did you ever see that? I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot people and I wouldn’t lose voters.”
As Sanders said: “I would very much look forward to a race against Donald Trump.” And if the polls are any indication of the mindset of most Americans and what they value, Bernie is overwhelmingly the candidate the American people would chose to support to change the status quo – not the man who brags he is proud of the loyalty he receives from people who would continue to support him even if he went out in the street and shot people.
You can watch the interview here: