President Donald Trump is apparently becoming increasingly concerned about the possibility of Vermont Independent Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic nomination. According to reports, the Trump campaign has begun shifting its focus from perceived frontrunner Joe Biden to Sanders, sending out emails blasting the senator.
In a recent interview, Trump’s campaign spokesperson Tim Murtaugh described Sanders as “dangerous,” suggesting that a Sanders presidency would be bad news for national security. The attacks have not stopped. In a Twitter message posted on Sunday, Trump took aim at Sanders, calling the senator “Crazy,” and noting that he has surged in the polls.
“Wow! Crazy Bernie Sanders is surging in the polls, looking very good against his opponents in the Do Nothing Party. So what does this all mean? Stay tuned!” Trump tweeted.
Sanders responded with a zinger.
“It means you’re going to lose.”
According to a report from The Hill, the president’s attacks on Sanders come as no surprise to those familiar with the Trump campaign’s strategy. According to Rep. Ro Khanna of California, a top adviser to the Sanders campaign, Trump is actually concerned about the possibility of Sanders winning the nomination, and aware of the senator’s appeal to key voting blocs.
“I’ve heard reports in private from people that Trump doesn’t actually underestimate him. He understands Sanders’s appeal to rural America. He understands Sanders’s appeal to working-class voters,” Khanna said, explaining that Trump’s attacks are good news for the Sanders campaign, because they demonstrate that the Vermont Independent is indeed one of the leading Democratic White House hopefuls.
Furthermore, according to a Republican operative affiliated with the Trump campaign, Sanders winning the Democratic nomination would do “weird things to the electoral landscape,” making it more difficult for the president to run an efficient reelection campaign.
“It shakes up the map, and we have no idea how it shakes up the map,” the operative said.
Sen. Bernie Sanders: "We are the strongest campaign to defeat Donald Trump." pic.twitter.com/ngGAYwwoJF
— The Hill (@thehill) January 12, 2020
Sanders entered the Democratic primary race as a frontrunner but was soon overtaken by Biden. The former vice president has maintained his lead in national polls, but his standing in key early states is not nearly as good.
Sanders is topping the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire, and breathing down Biden’s neck in other crucial primary states.
In recent weeks, Sanders has aggressively contrasted his own record with Biden’s, blasting the former vice president for supporting the war in Iraq, and criticizing him for backing the NAFTA trade agreement and wanting to cut Social Security and Medicare.