Johnny Burtka, executive director for the American Conservative magazine, claims that Independent Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the only Democratic White House hopeful capable of taking on President Donald Trump in a debate.
In an interview with The Hill on Tuesday, Burtka explained that he believes Sanders’ “pugnacity” would work to his advantage.
“He’s the only one that I think could ultimately take on Donald Trump on the debate stage.”
It has been speculated that Trump is considering skipping the presidential debates. The president seemingly confirmed the speculation earlier this week, attacking the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates and alleging that the organization is biased against him.
The nonprofit commission has organized every presidential debate since 1988, but the president claims it is “stacked” with individuals opposed to him.
Trump did not directly confirm that he would skip the presidential debates altogether. Instead, he said “the debates are up to me,” adding that there are “many options, including doing them directly.” The president did not elaborate on what would “doing” the debates “directly” means.
Burtka suggested that Sanders is not only capable of taking on Trump, but is also running an effective primary election campaign with his strategy of refraining from attacking Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren producing results.
The conservative pundit explained that Sanders and Warren appear to have managed to amplify “the progressive voice” by avoiding attacking each other directly, focusing on more conservative candidates instead.
“It seems like there’s been a multiplier effect in terms of the progressive energy that’s coming from Bernie and Warren,” he said.
“They’ve done a great job on the debate stage playing off each other,” the conservative pundit opined, adding that “eventually they’re going to have to decide who’s the best candidate.”
It was a special honor to be at Morehouse College today, to look out at the statue of Dr. King and to be joined by so many young people in the fight for education and justice.
We will undo the hatred coming from Trump’s White House. We will bring our people together. pic.twitter.com/EGvrh7Na5M
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) November 22, 2019
For the past few weeks, Sanders has been surging in the polls, both nationwide and in key early states. The Vermont Senator is not only topping the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, but he is also starting to eat into former Vice President Joe Biden’s support in South Carolina.
The Palmetto State has long been Biden’s stronghold. It is largely thanks to the southern firewall that the former vice president is still leading in the polls. However, multiple Democratic strategists have suggested that losing momentum in Iowa and New Hampshire could crack Biden’s South Carolina firewall and even doom his campaign.
Polls have suggested that Sanders would be a formidable opponent for Trump, with nearly every single general election poll listed on RealClearPolitics showing the Vermont senator beating the President.