While I was away I had a lot of time to reflect and pull together my thoughts on the Democratic primary race. As I’ve stated in the past I think there are major downside risks for the Democrats if they nominate Bernie Sanders. At the same time, I see a lot of pundits and not a few Democrats saying that Sanders is “unelectable”.
As I say, I’ve made clear that I have a lot of skepticism about Sanders as a general election candidate. But the idea that he’s unelectable is just belied by too much evidence. The most important is this: pollsters have been polling a Sanders versus Trump contest for over a year. Virtually every one of those polls has shown Sanders beating Trump. The great majority show him beating Trump by margins that make an electoral college win very likely. None of this guarantees a Sanders victory, obviously. Indeed, there are two or three reasons I fear those numbers will not hold up – one being that Sanders has simply never faced a concerted negative campaign. (I’ll address those reasons in a separate post.) Given the enormous stakes, you don’t just want someone who has a shot. You want to be sure it’s the candidate with the best shot, to the extent you can ascertain that. But you simply can’t state as a fact that someone can’t win when virtually all the polling data shows they are at least a favorite. That’s certainly in spite of the evidence.