Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made the case for his own “electability” during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday, Common Dreams reports.
Host Brianna Kellar started the discussion by playing a video clip of former Vice President Joe Biden’s wife Jill Biden saying that Americans need to vote for her husband even if they don’t necessarily agree with his policies, because he is the most electable candidate.
Sanders strongly pushed back against this argument.
“If people want a candidate who can beat Donald Trump, I think you’re looking at him,” he said, arguing that polls show him beating President Donald Trump.
Indeed, Sanders is a clear favorite against Trump, according to polls. For instance, according to RealClearPolitics‘ poll tracker, Sanders beats Trump in a head-to-head match-up in nearly every single poll — of the 35 polls listed on the website, Sanders beats the president in 34.
Polls have consistently shown that Biden would beat Trump as well, but according to Sanders, much more than just electability is needed to beat the Republican incumbent in 2020.
The Vermont senator argued that young voters and those in the working class need to be brought into the political process in order to beat Trump, and truly change American society for the better.
“If we are to defeat Donald Trump, what you need is a campaign of energy and excitement — a campaign that brings millions of young people and working class people into the political processes in a way that we have not seen before. I think, frankly, that I am the candidate.”
Sanders added that he would, if elected president, “lay the groundwork for transforming our economy and our government to meet the needs of working people, who’ve been ignored for so very long.”
Although “electabilty” would not be an issue for Sanders in the general election, according to polls, in order to even have a shot at challenging Trump, he needs to win the Democratic primary — and his chances are presently not high, according to a RealClearPolitics average of polling data.
Since entering the primary race, Biden has maintained a monstrous lead over the rest of the crowded primary field, with support from 28.8 percent of Democratic primary voters. As the former vice president’s closest competitor, Sanders currently stands at 16 percent of the vote.
Some claim that it is only a matter of time before the Biden “bubble” bursts, however. The New Republic‘s Alex Shephard recently argued that Biden’s lead in the polls is “illusory,” suggesting that the former vice president is essentially a placeholder for most voters, or someone they can nominally support based on familiarity until they figure out which candidate best suits their values.
Furthermore, according to Shephard, the more voters learn about other candidates, and the more the gaffe-prone Biden campaigns, the more he will lose support. The columnist concluded that once voters realize that Biden is not as electable as he seems, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren stand to benefit the most.