After winning the popular vote in Iowa, winning the New Hampshire primary, and cruising to a landslide victory in Nevada, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont emerged as the undisputed Democratic frontrunner. Some Democrats have expressed concerns over whether Sanders would actually be able to beat President Donald Trump, however.
According to Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, Trump would be lucky to avoid a general election versus Sanders. The Vermont senator, as he explained, would pose the toughest challenge to the president. Per The Hill, in an interview with Gayle King on CBS, Scott related why he believes Sanders would be the hardest Democratic candidate to beat.
“I would say that the biggest threat to President Trump is President Trump. If he’s on his game, as he was at the State of the Union, I don’t think there’s a candidate in the country that can beat him. If there is a second choice other than himself, it would be Bernie Sanders.”
Drawing a parallel between Sanders’ 2020 campaign and Trump’s 2016 bid, Scott explained that Republicans refused to believe that the real estate magnate could ever win the presidency, much like Democrats are now doubting the Vermont lawmaker.
“Republican wisdom said there’s no way in the world out of the 17 candidates, Donald Trump will be the president,” the South Carolina senator added.
Observing that Democratic Party insiders are doing all they can to stop Sanders from winning the nomination, Scott opined that taking the nomination away from the Vermont senator — if he goes into the convention with a plurality, but not a majority of the delegates — would “cause an implosion on the foundation” of the party.
According to Scott, if other candidates want to slow down Sanders’ momentum, they need to challenge and attack him more aggressively, starting with the South Carolina debate on Tuesday night.
Democratic fears about Sanders’ electability are unfounded, polling suggests. In nearly every single general election head-to-head matchup listed on RealClearPolitics, Sanders beats Trump. On average, his advantage over the president is 4.4 points. Furthermore, the senator fares better against Trump in key battleground states than any other candidate.
According to a poll from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Elections Research Center released on Sunday, Sanders holds a seven-point advantage over Trump in Michigan and has a two-point edge in Pennsylvania, as well as in Wisconsin.
Trump appears to be aware of the threat Sanders would pose to him in a general election. According to a secret recording released by the legal team of Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, the president said during a private conversation with his associates in 2018 that the only Democrat he feared running against in 2016 was Sanders.
In the recording, Trump can be heard explaining that the only person he did not want 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton to pick as running mate was Sanders.
“Had she picked Bernie Sanders it would’ve been tougher. He’s the only one I didn’t want her to pick,” the president reportedly told his associates.