Bernie Sanders fans insist he’s more electable than Hillary Clinton. Are they right?
Bernie Sanders is getting badly hurt at the ballot box by an idea his supporters think is deeply misguided.
According to exit polls, Hillary Clinton has clobbered Sanders among voters who said a candidate who "can win in November" is their top concern. Even in New Hampshire, a state Sanders won in a landslide, Clinton beat Sanders among these voters by 59 points.
For many Clinton supporters, picking Sanders just sounds like a reckless gamble. The idea of nominating a little-known "democratic socialist" from Vermont seems like a sure way to guarantee that Republicans take back the White House with little upside for Democrats.
Sanders's fans think this is nonsense. To them, arguments against the candidate on "electability" grounds are worse than a distraction from more important policy questions: They also miss clear evidence that Sanders, not Clinton, would be the stronger candidate against Republicans.
Just as Trump stole ideas from Rick Perry and Cruz, so has Clinton stolen from Sanders. So she is talking Sanders-like now, and does it so smoothly as long as she's not derailed off the script.
Obviously, anybody even described by an opponent as a socialist is laboring under a heavy handicap, and for Sanders to say that of himself really stacked the deck.
There are certainly polls purporting to show Sanders would do better against this one or that one, but opinion shifts constantly.
One thing: a lot of people including many Democrats do not like Hillary Clinton; many Democrats will not vote for her. Sanders scores better in the likeability/ernestness index -- but then, there are problems with what he wants to do and in that socialist label.