Discover more from Kevin McKenzie
The Electability of Bernie Sanders
Possibly the most interesting, and completely unreported, fact about the presidential election right now is that Bernie Sanders is consistently polling as the stronger candidate to go up against any of the potential Republican nominees in the general election. RealClearPolitics has collected recent polls conducted and it shows that Sanders outperforms Clinton against the Republicans nearly every time regardless of whether it's broken down by state or nationally.
A relatively recent poll from Public Policy Polling, the most accurate polling company, in my opinion, shows that a generic Democrat would beat a generic Republican in the general election, so it's no surprise that both Hillary and Bernie are generally leading their potential Republican rivals in the polls. However, in a tight Democratic primary, especially ahead of all-important New York, Bernie can make the case that he is in fact the more electable of the two going into November and that the most important thing may be keeping a Republican, especially Trump, out of the White House.
Trump and Cruz are of course hated by most Democratic voters, especially those who will be voting in the primary, but Sanders could also question why the Democratic establishment, using its super-delegates, is trying to steal the nomination from the more electable candidate. This would further solidify the fact that Clinton has the Democratic Party in her pocket and raise questions of corruption.
As to why Bernie is polling better than Hillary against the Republicans I could only speculate. Perhaps one of the biggest factors is that independent voters who do not vote in Democratic primaries are tilting the numbers in Bernie's favor. Some of the voters who would stay home in November or even vote Republican if Hillary is the nominee may change their minds if Bernie were the nominee. A new NBC News/Marist poll makes the point well enough; while Clinton leads Sanders among Democratic primary voters, Sanders leads the Republicans by a higher percentage than Clinton does. Simply put, more people vote in a general election than a primary, and this seems to benefit Bernie Sanders more than it does Hillary Clinton.
More interesting than why the media is largely silent about the fact that Sanders outperforms Clinton in general election polling, perhaps, is why the Sanders campaign is not running with the issue of electability. Given his recent momentum and the importance of the upcoming primary in New York, it makes very little sense for Sanders to not bring out every possible argument in his favor. The only logical conclusion to draw is that Bernie is still pulling his punches against Hillary because he fully expects her to be the nominee and he doesn't want to hurt her chances going into November. This is something that hardcore Bernie supporters probably don't want to accept, but there's no question that he will end up endorsing and campaigning for Hillary.
Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, it's very likely that for the first time since James Buchanan succeeded Franklin Pierce a Democrat will be elected President of the United States following another Democrat's full term in office without dying. An interesting, if irrelevant, historical factoid.