One of the biggest concerns among Democratic voters hoping to oust President Donald Trump from office in the fall is that the current frontrunner, Sen. Bernie Sanders, may be popular within the party itself, but might not appeal to voters in key states across the nation.
The logic behind this concern is this: Sanders, who describes himself as a democratic socialist, may push away some swing-state voters — moderates who might like someone with centrist attitudes rather than society-changing ideas like Medicare-For-All, for example.
A recent article from Politico demonstrates this animosity for Sanders in stark terms. “The real fear for Texas D’s remains Sanders,” Austin, Texas, lobbyist Bill Miller told the publication. “‘We’d be f—ed’ — that’s what they’re saying.”
Those concerns are legitimate for Democrats to voice out loud, in the sense that, for every candidate being considered by left-leaning voters (not just Sanders, but every Dem in the race) it must be asked: can this person defeat Trump?
But the concerns also seem to be misplaced. Three polls from three separate swing states show that Sanders actually defeats Trump head-to-head…
In Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, Sanders currently polls ahead of the incumbent president.
Some of the polls are a bit older, but they showcase that Sanders has a strong chance nevertheless. A November poll out of Muhlenberg College, for example, reveals that Sanders has a 5-point lead against Trump, by a margin of 50 percent to 45 percent.
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A Detroit Free Press poll from January shows identical numbers: Trump loses to Sanders in The Great Lakes State, again by 5 points.
And in Florida, which Hillary Clinton lost to Trump by just over 1 percent of the vote in 2016, Sanders wallops Trump comparatively, with a Florida Atlantic University poll from January showing him ahead of the president 53 percent to 47 percent.
Collectively, those three states equal 65 Electoral College votes. If Sanders retains the states that Clinton won in 2016 and picks up those three, the independent senator running as a Democrat would receive close to 300 Electoral College votes, ensuring he would defeat Trump to become the next president.
And there are many other swing states that Sanders does well in against Trump.
Now, this is all hypothetical, of course — Sanders has his work cut out for him yet if he’s to win the Democratic Party’s nomination. There’s a lot that could happen between now and the DNC convention in Milwaukee later this summer.
But the bottom line is this: Democratic voters should choose their candidates based out of conviction, over who they believe is the best person for the job. If they think that’s Sanders, they shouldn’t fear he can’t beat Trump, or let others try to coerce them into voting for someone that’s “safer.”
Sanders, just like many other Democratic candidates, can beat Trump, if these polls are to be believed.
Oh yeah, and as far as Texas is concerned? A UT/Texas Tribune poll from earlier this month found that Sanders is presently behind Trump by 2 points in the Lone Star State, which is actually within striking distance (and within the margin of error, meaning they’re statistically tied). Former vice president Joe Biden, meanwhile, loses to Trump in the same poll, by about 4 percentage points.