CONVERSATIONS WITH STRANGERS (debating folks on-line): IS BERNIE ELECTABLE?

(Unnamed person on unspecified website) writes “We’ve seen crazy things happen (Trump getting elected), but Bernie is the Democrats version of Ross Perot. He WILL NOT win the middle. The middle decides. You read it here first.”

I respond:

That’s the conventional wisdom, but it’s as wrong now as it was in 2016. The “middle” are independents (45% of registered voters, with the GOP and Democrats tied at 27%) — and Bernie is beating Trump by 18% among independents. That’s the best of any of the current Democratic crop.

(Unnamed person on unspecified website) writes “all the polls, like the one you posted about independents, were in favor of Clinton in 2016.”

While that’s true, most of those polls showed Clinton winning by 2-4%, within the margin of error — it was very tight (and those same polls showed Bernie beating Trump by double digits, a much safer bet, contrary to the conventional wisdom).

It was the chattering class of pundits who gave people the impression that Clinton couldn’t possibly lose to Trump… even when she was clearly the most vulnerable.

Conversely, it was the analysts and researchers, like myself, who reviewed the data and predicted Clinton’s loss.

(Unnamed person on unspecified website) writes “…there are more democrats who won’t vote for him than republicans wouldn’t for Trump.”

You may have a point. Many mainstream Democrats will be reluctant to vote for Bernie. They have been conditioned to hate Bernie the way they hated Obama in 2008. (Sec. Clinton’s campaign had demeaned then-Sen. Obama’s supporters as misogynist “Obama boys” and her campaign had even questioned his “American-ness,” his religion, and his country of origin, feeding into some Birtherism, along with some other ugly racist tactics. As a result of that divisive primary, 25% of Clinton’s supporters became PUMAs — an acronym for “Party Unity My Ass!” — and “Democrats for McCain.” In the general election, some 3 million Clinton supporters voted for McCain-Palin against Obama. Contrast that to the number of 2016 Bernie voters who ended up voting for Trump: 12%, less than half as many crossovers as the Clinton folks in 2008.)

But my feeling is that the Democrats who dislike Bernie are among the most consistent voters in presidential elections. They will come out and vote for Bernie — not because they want to, but because they’re reliable “Blue No Matter Who” voters, and they hate Trump even more than they hate Bernie. It’s probably a close call after the years of smears against Sanders, including the Clinton-invented “Bernie Bro” smear — but I think they hate Trump a tiny bit more than they hate Bernie, the most popular politician in the country with the broadest, most diverse, majority-female, working class coalition, including teachers, Starbucks workers, Wal-Mart “associates,” and Amazon slaves… plus the military, where Bernie tops even Trump in individual donations.

(Unnamed person on unspecified website) writes “…the US isn’t ready to pay for what Bernie has in store for us. Scary to think about for me. Buttigieg has a better shot to win the masses IMO. He’s somewhat moderate…”

I respond (mentally, “scarier than second-term TRUMP or first-term Buttigieg?!”) but in actuality, I respond):

I think that the conventional wisdom has again misled you. When it comes to policy, Bernie Sanders is a centrist. He’s the most popular politician in the country for several years running, with great appeal to rural, conservative-leaning folks, as well as the Democratic base.

Most of his proposals poll at 60-80% with the American people: tax the wealthy, confront climate change, provide healthcare and a livable minimum wage, etc.

Sure, Buttigieg is being presented by the war-loving corporate media as a moderate, but he’s far from moderate on most issues. When it comes to foreign policy, he’s either with Trump or to his right.

Furthermore, Buttigieg is deeply unpopular in South Bend and has 0% support from the African-American community. He’s been caught faking support from black Indianans and editing video to make it appear that his comment at a CNN Town Hall received a round of applause… when it had received none. (He also paid over $40,000 to “Shadow, Inc,” the company behind the app that miscounted the vote in Iowa. #MayorCheat is trending for a reason, and it’s no conspiracy theory.)

Buttigieg’s political positions have truly been all over the place, and he’s the #1 recipient of billionaire donations. He’s been evasive about his work for the corporate sector and U.S. intelligence community. And his debate performances have been poor, garnering much criticism (he’s no Amy Klobuchar).

In fact, the more people get to know Pete, the less they like or trust him. IMO, he’s a sure loser in a general election against Trump, and the polls confirm that, too.

Meanwhile, Bernie’s been polling best against Trump for two consecutive election cycles. And he’s been winning in 2020 with over 40% of the votes of people of color, far more than any of his rivals. His most favorable demographics are from people of color. He’s the only candidate with more nonwhite support than white support and more women supporters than men. Plus, he’s bringing millions of new people into the process, who are registering and participating in large numbers. He has a grassroots volunteer army of 1.2 million supporters, well organized in one state after another. And he’s breaking record after record for crowds and fundraising — with no PACs or big donors, just small, individual donations.

If all that doesn’t make Sanders our best candidate against Donald Trump — a real populist vs. a fake one — then I can’t imagine who would be better… Ron Paul? Tom Hanks? Captain America?

(It’s certainly not Buttigieg, Biden, Warren, Klobuchar, or Mike “Billionaire” Bloomberg!)

In any case, I appreciate your willingness to jump in and engage. Have a great day!

James O’Donnell
jodonn3rd@gmail.com
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