In the 2016 Election, the Democratic Party narrowly nominated Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders, and the Republican Party reluctantly nominated Donald Trump because there was no one else left to oppose him. The DNC, and most people for that matter, believed Clinton’s victory was all but assured. Then election night happened. In the DNC’s eyes, what was supposed to be a historic victory slowly crumbled into a crushing, unexpected defeat. As another election season is upon us, the question remains: who from the Democratic Party has the best chance of dethroning Donald Trump this time around? History has shown us that defeating the incumbent is no easy task. Of course, in this instance it’s no different, but there is hope. That hope is not Joe Biden. That hope is not Elizabeth Warren, nor is it Pete Buttigieg or Amy Klobuchar. That hope is Bernie Sanders. However, if the Democratic Party doesn’t run Sanders, I’m afraid they won’t have a fighting chance.
I came up with my own personal formula in a candidate the Democrats need to defeat Donald Trump. First, the candidate needs to be someone the DNC doesn’t favor. I believe that each time the candidate the Democrats think they should run always ends up being the weaker option. In 2008, they were pushing for Hillary Clinton, then Obama came along and usurped the nomination from her at the last minute. Obama ended up winning. In 2016, the DNC pushed for Hillary Clinton again over Bernie Sanders, this time successful, and we all know how that turned out. The same could be said about the RNC. Throughout the 2016 primaries, the RNC clearly did not favor Donald Trump and look at what happened. Even now, the Democratic Party is reportedly “nervous” about Sanders being one delegate away from the lead. If anything, I consider this a good thing.
Secondly, the candidate needs to be someone with a consistent viewpoint. Donald Trump, as controversial as he is, has not budged in most of his beliefs since taking office in January 2017. The same could absolutely be said about Bernie Sanders, who’s stuck with his ideology for well over 40 years, according to Tamara Keith of NPR.
Lastly, the Democratic candidate needs to be one who is relatively immune to Trump’s name calling and accusatory tactics. If you think about it, Sanders’ slate is relatively clean compared to his rivals, so Trump has little to insult him on other than calling him a “communist.” I genuinely feel Sanders is the hardest target for Trump to go after, and the fact that Trump said earlier last week that he’d rather go up against Mike Bloomberg because Sanders “actually has followers” leads me to believe this fact is true. Trump is a cocky guy, so him admitting that Sanders has a chance at getting elected is a good sign.
Furthermore, another aspect that could lead to Trump’s undoing this time around would be his waning support. I do not believe that Trump has won over any new voters. The same people who voted for him in 2016 are going to vote for him again in 2020, minus detractors from his cause — if looking at the twitter account @Trump_Regrets is anything to go by.
Yes, the booming economy and stable job market are on his side, but it can be argued that both have been on an upward spiral towards the end of Obama’s second term. Trump may have a relatively strong base, but he does not “have it in the bag” like a lot of his supporters seem to think he does. He never did. If one looks at the vote totals in Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan and Wisconsin, the difference between him and Hillary Clinton in 2016 was so marginally small that the people who voted Third Party essentially swayed the result.
All four of those areas could flip back to blue, and if Sanders wins the same states Hillary did in addition, that would be more than enough for him to win the White House. At the same time, however, Hillary won New Hampshire and Minnesota by a very slim margin, so it’s entirely possible that those states could flip back into the Republican column. If Sanders were smart (which he is) he’d focus on those six states the most. Hillary didn’t even go to Wisconsin in 2016, which can be attributed to her narrow loss there.
Voter turnout was historically low in 2016 as well, especially among the younger demographic. It’s an understatement to say that Bernie Sanders has most of the college-age crowd wrapped around his finger. I firmly believe with him as the candidate he’ll have the highest chance of capturing those voters on election night. I can’t say the same about Joe Biden or Amy Klobuchar in that regard.
They say that history repeats itself to those who don’t learn from it. Four years ago, the world underestimated Donald Trump. Do not underestimate Bernie Sanders.