Jane Sanders, the wife of 2016 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — the 76-year-old independent senator from Vermont — claimed in a new interview Saturday that her husband would have won the general election, defeating Donald Trump, in part because Americans, Jane Sanders claimed, did not want a “third term” for President Barack Obama — a claim contradicted by a recent, widely-publicized poll.
The 66-year-old wife of the Vermont senator made the claim that “Bernie would have won,” an often-repeated refrain among Sanders supporters since the November 8, 2016, election, despite her own husband, who implored Democrats to stop “re-litigating” the 2016 election in interviews earlier this month.
Bernie Sanders called for an end to the “re-litigating” of 2016 in response to assertions made by Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in her recent campaign memoir What Happened, that Sanders’ attacks on her during the Democratic primary campaign caused “lasting damage” to her efforts to defeat Trump in November.
Jane Sanders’ claim that “Bernie would have won” also appears to be contradicted by actual election results, in which Clinton defeated Sanders in the Democratic primary by 3,775,437 total votes and 359 delegates, not including so-called “super delegates.”
Watch Bernie Sanders defend himself from Clinton’s criticisms in an interview with CBS Late Show host Stephen Colbert in the video below.
“I think (Bernie) would have won. I have very little doubt he would have won,” Jane Sanders told the Irish Times newspaper in the Saturday interview. “Because American people wanted change and they weren’t willing to vote for the status quo.”
Though referring to Clinton as “great… wonderful… a very smart woman,” Sanders blasted Clinton as a “centrist” and “the wrong candidate.” She added that in her view, voters perceived a vote for Clinton as a vote for, in effect, a third term for Obama.
“That’s not what they wanted at that time, and that’s not what they want now,” Sanders said in the interview.
But a poll released last week by Public Policy Polling contradicts Sanders’ claim that American voters would be opposed to a hypothetical third Obama term. According to the poll, a majority of Americans — 52 percent — wish that Obama was currently serving his third term as president, as opposed to only 41 percent who are content with Trump holding the office.
The poll also asked respondents to pick favorites in several hypothetical 2020 general election matchups, with results showing that Bernie Sanders would defeat Trump with 51 percent of the vote to 40 percent for Trump. The same poll also showed that if former First Lady Michelle Obama ran against Trump, she would also win with 51 percent, compared to 41 percent for Trump.
Clinton — who won the popular vote against Trump in 2016 by 2.5 percentage points, would defeat Trump again in the popular vote, this time by a more definitive five-point margin, 47 percent to 42 percent.
Critics of Bernie Sanders say that his supporters’ claim that “Bernie would have won” disregards a number of factors working against the Vermont senator — perhaps most importantly the expected negative attacks against Sanders coming from the Republican and Trump camps. In fact, in a tweet in May of last year, Trump himself appears to confirm the he was preparing an assault on Sanders.
But in the Tweet, Trump also agreed with Clinton’s later claim that Sanders’ own attacks on her caused damage to her effort against Trump.
I don’t want to hit Crazy Bernie Sanders too hard yet because I love watching what he is doing to Crooked Hillary. His time will come!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 11, 2016
In the Irish Times interview, Jane Sanders did not address potential negative attacks against her husband, and made no mention of the current FBI investigation against her for allegedly defrauding a bank on a loan application when she was president of Burlington College, an institution that later went under due to massive debts. Both Jane and Bernie Sanders have reportedly hired lawyers to defend themselves against the bank fraud allegations.
[Featured Image By Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP Images]