Thursday, April 18, 2019


While I'm waiting for Mueller Day to begin, I'm distracted by this list of takeaways from a recent Emerson poll of the Democratic primary field (hat tip: Jena Friedman):
26% of current Bernie Sanders supporters said that they would rather vote for President Donald Trump over Senator Elizabeth Warren, if that were the eventual 2020 matchup.
That seems like sexism, but there's also this:
While 100% of [Pete] Buttigieg’s supporters said they would support Bernie against Trump (if that were the General Election matchup), only 79% of Bernie’s supporters said they would vote for Buttigieg over Trump in a General Election.
Maybe that's homophobia -- or maybe a significant portion of the Sanders vote is simply not obtainable by anyone else who might run as a Democrat. Maybe these people wouldn't vote for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez if she were eligible and running. Maybe they wouldn't run for -- I'm groping for a Sandersesque white male here -- Glenn Greenwald or Michael Tracey or Matt Taibbi.

I want to know more about these people. Are they left-wing at all? Or are they just people whose preference is for a candidate who can do performative male outrage against the Establishment in a non-posh accent? And is that because they're adolescent iconoclasts (of all ages)? Or are some of these people the same folks who put Trump over the top in 2016? What if the white male Democrats should run in order to win back Rust Belt voters who defected in 2016 is ... Bernie Sanders?

My guess is that it's much more complex than that. Sanders would probably lose some swing voters who are moderate. But he might peel off a few Trump voters in the process. What's the net gain or loss? I can't tell one way or the other.

We're also told this:
Only 51% of current Bernie supporters actually voted in the 2016 General Election for the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton – 7% voted for Trump, 23% voted for a third-party candidate, and 19% did not vote.
Simultaneously I'm thinking, What the hell is wrong with these people? and Maybe Sanders at the top of the ticket would bring out a lot of voters in 2020 who'd never vote for another Democrat.

I'm sorry we still have to work through all this. A true Democrat really should be able to win this thing, although I'm not at all confident. (I was much more confident in the Democrats' chances of retaking the House in 2018.) I guess we just have to accept the fact that we'll lose a lot of Sanders voters if he's not on the ticket -- but he might be a stronger candidate than many people believe if he is the nominee, because he'll attract voters who don't seem to care about ideology at all.

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