The latest news from Iowa (and the caucuses meet on February 3) is that Bernie is surging in the polls, despite the fact that he’s trapped in the Senate, listening to the Trump impeachment. He’s also drawing negative ads from Super PACs. “Two different attacks launched against Sanders this week, one from the Conservative Club for Growth and another from a pro-Israel group, Democratic Majority for Israel, noted Sanders’ advanced age. And in the latter group’s ad, one voter airing concerns about Sanders’ heart attack, which his opponents have avoided making into a campaign issue.”
Trump’s advisors are divided on whether Bernie’s is good or bad for Trump’s re-election. “Sanders was surging, and some of the Trump advisers were salivating at the thought of a self-described democratic socialist as their general election opponent. As the president listened, they argued for taking steps to elevate him in the primary to boost his prospects.
“But others warned that Sanders wouldn’t necessarily be the pushover he might seem. They told the president, who was joined in the meeting by top officials including campaign manager Brad Parscale and pollster Tony Fabrizio, that the Vermont senator’s authenticity and populist appeal could draw some of the blue-collar voters who propelled the president to the White House.”
We can anticipate that, if Bernie is the nominee, the Trump campaign will be boiling over with anti-socialist information and heckling. But at the end of the day, what will that do? Bernie has the strongest and most dedicated group of supporters in the Democratic race – much like the group that supported Trump in 2016. In fact, we know that Bernie supporters who hated Hillary Clinton actually voted for Trump back then. They are all very likely to return to the Bernie fold. One in 10 of Bernie 2016 supporters wound up voting for Trump.
The Bernie supporters who went over to Trump gave him his win over Clinton. “Specifically, if the Sanders-Trump voters in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania had voted for Clinton, or even stayed home on Election Day, those states would have swung to Clinton, and she would have won 46 more electoral votes, putting her at 278 — enough to win, in other words.”
It’s very unlikely that the Democratic voters for other candidates in 2020 will go for Trump over Bernie if the latter is the nominee. On the other hand, if Bernie supporters return from Trump to Bernie, it’s going to make re-election that much harder for Trump. “Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) who has surged to the top of a number of polls in Iowa and New Hampshire as well as nationally, led Trump by just two points (49 percent to 47 percent) in a head-to-head match-up gauged by the poll. He previously led Trump by the same percentage as Biden in September, 56 percent to 39.” This poll came out on January 27. It showed Biden as a slightly stronger candidate against Trump and Warren and Buttigieg as slightly weaker candidates. On the other hand, Klobuchar, who was behind the other four candidates, was a point ahead of Trump in a match-up.
Bernie’s strongest asset is the fact that he has surged recently in Iowa and New Hampshire. He has also taken the lead among the candidates in California. In Nevada, he is only one point behind Biden, with his campaign surging and Biden’s dropping.
In other words, Bernie has a very good chance of taking the first three primaries. The fourth primary (South Carolina) will probably go to Biden, but Super Tuesday, with 16 primaries on March 3, will be dominated by California. If Bernie can take that and a couple of others, he should be well in the lead.