Bernie Sanders could win big in November. Trump and his supporters know it.

A photo of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump
Peter Bolton

Bernie Sanders is the clear front-runner going into the South Carolina presidential primary. And debate is now shifting from whether Sanders can win the nomination, to whether he might actually beat Donald Trump in the general election this coming November. And it seems that not only are Sanders’ supporters feeling confident he might – so are Trump’s.

Growing evidence that Sanders could beat Trump

Ahead of the South Carolina vote on 29 February, there were multiple signs that Trump’s base is getting worried about a Sanders nomination. The annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) took place between 26 and 29 February near Washington, DC. The Hill newspaper interviewed dozens of people who attended the event. And apparently “many [CPAC attendees] think Sanders’s diverse and devoted base of support within the Democratic Party’s left flank sets him up well heading into November compared to his 2020 rivals”. This is quite a revelation coming from an obviously self-selecting group of conservative – and overwhelmingly Trump-supporting – people.

It follows more good news for Sanders’ supporters. On 27 February, Fox News – Trump’s favorite television channel – released the findings of a poll showing that Sanders as having “the best chance to win the general election”, according to the poll respondents. Over 50% of those questioned indicated that they believe that Sanders could beat Trump in November.

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…and Trump knows it

As The Canary reported in January, Trump seems to have twigged on that Sanders is most likely to be his opponent. In the first few weeks of 2020, he singled out Sanders for criticism on at least two occasions. He attacked him, for example, for opposing the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, claiming that Sanders “can’t be trusted to defend American lives” – even though it was a flagrant act of political murder that violated international law.

Shortly after, he invoked the hackneyed ‘liberal hypocrite’ line, describing Sanders as a “wealthy, fossil fuel-guzzling millionaire” who “lectures Americans on how to live their lives while doing the exact opposite”. The shift of focus to Sanders and away from his establishment Democrat rivals represents quite a change of tack on the part of the Trump and his campaign. But they’re right to be scared.

In the aftermath of Trump’s ‘victory’ in the 2016 election – in which he lost the popular vote – polls showed both him and his Democratic Party opponent Hillary Clinton to be among the most despised politicians in the country. Similar polls – including one from Fox News – showed Sanders, on the other hand, to be the US’s most popular politician.

Pending Sanders landslide on ‘Super Tuesday’

Although Sanders is polling slightly behind centrist challenger Joe Biden in South Carolina, he’s the undoubted front-runner in the primary race. He won the previous two contests in New Hampshire and Nevada and won the most votes in the Iowa caucus only to somehow ‘lose’ to billionaire-backed Pete Buttigieg. The South Carolina vote comes shortly before the so-called ‘Super Tuesday’, in which 14 states will hold primary contests. Sanders is widely expected to win big in numerous states and may well hold an insurmountable lead in the nomination process as a whole by the end of the day.

And that would mean the beginning of a political revolution that could both remove Trump from the White House and launch a sustained attack on neoliberal austerity and corporate state capture in the USA.

Featured image via Flickr – Gage Skidmore and Flickr – Gage Skidmore

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