Kushay's Matter Bank Politics

[AK] How Bernie Can Beat Trump

This note will discuss reasons why Bernie can defeat Trump in a hypothetical election between the two. Source:

Who could beat Trump in 2020 presidential elections? Bernie Sanders! During the primary, he polled better in match-ups against Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton did. The argument made by Clinton supporters was that this was only because America did not yet fully know Bernie Sanders. This argument turned out to be false. The more America gets to know Bernie Sanders, the more it likes him: Since Trump’s election, Sanders has been the most popular politician in the country, and a poll from last year showed he “would defeat Trump by 13 percentage points if a general presidential election was held at that time.” Suggestions that only white people like Bernie Sanders are also false: In fact, his favorability rating is far higher among people of color than white people and “is highest among Hispanics (66 percent) and African-Americans (77 percent)”.

Alternatives? Joe Biden has a terrible record on racial issues, a creepy history with women, and has said he has “no empathy” for millennials suffering with debt and economic precariousness. Doesn’t exactly seem like the right person to energize the Democratic base. Or look at Kamala Harris, who oversaw and defended an “epidemic” of prosecutorial misconduct while serving as California’s attorney general, and accepted a donation from Steve Mnuchin after inexplicably failing to prosecute his former company for illegal mortgage foreclosures.

Trump thrives on a particular kind of politics: the politics of the television spectacle. Hillary Clinton was a perfect opponent for him because she gave him plenty of “material” for his show: the FBI investigation, Bill Clinton, Iraq, Libya, Wall Street. To defeat Donald Trump, you need an opponent who won’t get mired in these kinds of debates, who will be able to draw Trump back to discussing the issues. Kamala Paris is not actually a very good campaigner; she’s more of an academic, and she had a hard time beating a Republican even in deep-blue Massachusetts. But second, the Native American thing is the sort of scandal that Trump thrives on.

Against Trump, you need someone whose past does not contain obvious instances of hypocrisy that they will struggle to explain. This is why Bernie has a unique advantage: He is probably the most principled and consistent of any U.S. politician. Trump’s “anti-establishment” message simply doesn’t have the same effectiveness against a guy who is, himself, anti-establishment.

Bonus: The policy backbone of the centrists includes an American Investment Bank designed to back “Main Street, not Wall Street” entrepreneurs, a “Boomer Corps” part-time national-service program for senior citizens whose earnings would be tax-free (on top of their Social Security), a massive state-driven apprenticeship system, and universal private retirement savings accounts funded by employers. They call it “providing equal opportunity”.

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