Sanders found himself in an unlikely ally, President Donald Trump, as tensions between Democratic presidential rivals, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, soared earlier in this month.
During a heated campaign rally during which Trump attacked some of his Democratic rivals, the president started to support Sanders suddenly. Warren accused Sanders of telling her a woman in November couldn’t win the White House, but Sanders maintained that he wouldn’t say anything like that.
Trump agreed. Trump agreed.
“I don’t think Bernie said that. I don’t, “Trump said to his followers. As the Democratic Primary intensifies before the first nominating contests, Trump and his supporters have made a number of highly positive remarks about Sanders. “That was not the kind of thing he’d do.” We also played up the electoral power and fundraising prowess of the Vermont senator. And they implied that if the nomination wasn’t won by Sanders, it was because the party tricked the primary against him.
It is a feeling that resonates since Hillary Clinton won the nomination, with some Sanders ‘ supporters who believe that the Democratic National Committee worked against him in 2016.
Through supplying Sanders with occasional encouragement, Trump takes a page from his own playbook of the election four years ago and bets that the Democratic tensions that helped him win the White House are now even deeper.
More moderate Democrats fear that in general elections Sanders— a democratic socialist self-described — would fight to build a strong coalition together. But they are concerned, too, that his followers may not vote for any other candidate in large enough numbers if Sanders fails to find the party’s second candidacy.
Both options are in Trump’s favor. The President monitors closely the democratic race and noted the strong fundraising and polling of Sanders according to Republicans who spoke with him about the election.
Would you think Bernie Sanders has an opportunity to win the Democratic nomination in 2020?
But if Sanders stumbles over the next few weeks, Trump still sees chances to block or even take over some of his votes from some of the senator’s fiercest supporters.
It’s a disturbing thought for some Democrats.
Jennifer Palmieri, who advised Clinton’s team in 2016, said that “there are people who are very anti-establishment and have a lot of opposition feelings about the political establishment. Sanders appeals to them and if they don’t, the Trump team hopes they’ll come their way.’ While Trump and Sanders differ on most important policy topics, there are otherwise a lot of parallels.
Both have achieved political popularity without the assistance of their parties but now have significant influence on their political positions. Both men have developed visceral ties with lower-income voters, partly by pledging to revamp US workers ‘ trade policies, they claim.
A significant number of voters were shared by Sanders and Trump in 2016. According to statistics from the Pew Research Centre, 3% of the voters who supported Sanders regularly in 2016 voted for Trump by the Democratic Primary at the general elections. A further 11% of Sanders supporters opted for Clinton’s third party candidates.
David Riley Campbell, 23, was one of the Sanders who did not support Clinton in the general election against Trump (Campbell said that he did not vote for anyone). He said that in 2020, he has learnt his lesson and will be “grey no matter who.” Still, he admitted that he would be “much less enthusiastic” than Sanders about a nominee.
“The list of candidates I trust to be very small,” said Campbell, who was volunteering for Sanders before the February 3 caucus in Iowa.
It is that lingering distrust among Sanders supporters of other Democrats that Trump’s team is willing to capitalize on if the Senator fails in the next weeks.
In the last week Trump sent several tweets that suggested that Democrats were “rigging the election” against Sanders because he was forced off the campaign trail and acted as an adjudicator in the trial of the Senate in the final weeks before the vote. (Naturally, the court had also been marooned in Washington, DC, by three other senators–including Warren from Massachusetts, Leading Progressive Rival for Sanders.) Senior Trump Adviser Kellyanne Conway wrote in The Washington Post on Thursday that if the Democrats were serious about choosing the best candidate they would be side-written by Sanders.
“Those who won primary contests actually proved they were able to play David to Goliath in key places four years ago,” Conway wrote. “Tim Murtaug, the Trump’s spokesman, said these comments do not change the fact that the president sees Sanders as someone who could be a” complete disaster “in the White House. But Murtaugh gave the followers of Sanders a nod, saying that “the cnives are clear” to the senator in the Democratic primary.
“It would be perfectly comprehensible if camp Sanders said,’ We are going back home,'” said Murtaugh.
In 2016, Trump used a similar strategy. He encouraged Sanders to run independently after Clinton fell behind him in a delegate contest to decide the Democratic candidate and actively courted Sanders ‘ supporters.
At least some of Sanders ‘ supporters say four years later that they are aware of Trump’s policy.
“We try to do it is throw a wrench in the works. They try to do whatever they can to put us on our backs, “said Randy Bryce, supporter of Sanders and former congressional candidate for Wisconsin.
Sanders ‘ campaign did not reply to questions regarding the President and his advisors ‘ positive comments; however, earlier this month, Sanders distanced himself from the claims of Trump that Democrats were directly targeting him in 2020.