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WARTEL: Bernie Sanders is the most electable

No other frontrunner can beat Donald Trump in a General Election

The only safe bet is Bernie Sanders.
The only safe bet is Bernie Sanders.

The Iowa caucus is just two weeks away, and a recent poll delivered good news for the Bernie Sanders campaign. The Des Moines register poll showed Sanders leading by 20 percent. Winning Iowa is crucial for the chances of each candidate winning the majority of delegates in the primary. This is finally a bit of good news in a world torn by right-wing coups, environmental collapse and economic inequality. Right now Sanders has an estimated 22 percent chance of winning a majority of delegates in the Democratic Primary, which would jump to 61 percent if he wins Iowa. All those whose priority is defeating President Trump in 2020 should hope that Sanders wins Iowa, as he’s the only candidate able to defeat Trump in the general election and has no clear weakness in contrast to Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttegieg. 

I’ve written elsewhere that Bernie Sanders is the only candidate that can transform the country. I remain steadfast in my belief that we need a Green New Deal, Medicare for All and a humane foreign policy. At the time of my article “Bernie or Bust,” I thought that nearly every Democrat had an equal shot at defeating Trump in a general election. I was wrong, the only safe bet is Bernie Sanders. 

The assumption that Joe Biden — who has led the polls since he entered — is the most electable has been blinding to the true analysis of the matchup between him and Trump. Biden has a lengthy record to speak of — it is, in a word, bad. To start, he championed the Iraq War, and has since lied about it. Trump supported the Iraq War, but as we found in 2016, this won’t stop him from pretending he didn’t. The challenge for Biden is that Trump can claim an advantage on this issue because Biden refuses to even acknowledge he was wrong. The same is true for Medicare and Social Security, which Biden championed cuts of. I sincerely doubt Trump cares much about maintaining those programs, but a record like Biden’s is fodder for Trump. Biden’s campaign also lacks enthusiasm. As people should have learned from 2016, voters need to be given a reason to vote. Black turnout fell during Clinton’s election, and young people are hardly clamoring for Biden. When nominating a centrist, a run of the mill Democrat didn’t work in 2016, it is delusional to think it will work in 2020. 

Warren seemed like someone above the fray of normal critiques for Trump. She helped create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and began the campaign championing progressive policies like Medicare for All that can potentially create excitement. Some qualities show her incapable of defeating Trump, however. First, she has lied repeatedly about her Native ancestry. For decades she pretended to be a person of color for personal gain. In 1995, she was the first woman of color to be hired on Harvard Law faculty. She then took a DNA test after being taunted by Trump. This complete lack of judgement has continued throughout her campaign.  After failing to give an unclear answer on Medicare for All for months, she has come out with a public option. Whereas, at first, she could have been running on bold progressive policy, she’s been revealed as an underwhelming progressive, and her coalition make up shows it. Warren supporters, although not monolithic, tend to be whiter, wealthier, with higher education. This is not a coalition of the working-class that can bring new people into the political process and win, it’s a business as usual campaign.

Buttegieg shares similar weaknesses to Biden and Warren in not inspiring voters, but he also is uniquely manufactured. It’s as if someone unwrapped him from a cryogenic box after he had been hibernating for 50 years waiting for his chance to run for president. Buttegieg’s failure to deal with racism in the South Bend police department extends to a measly national support among Black voters. He is also uninspiring to younger voters. He’s an artificial candidate. It isn’t that he went to Harvard — it’s that he worked for McKinsey, helping fix bread prices and potentially doing a variety of other terrible things

Democrats cannot underestimate Donald Trump. In addition to super PAC fundraising, he has raised $79,376,267 from small donors. Despite lying, cutting taxes for the rich and making several racist remarks, his supporters are loyal, dedicated and organized. Winning 2020 requires far more than a traditional Democrat, of which the aforementioned candidates are. We need Bernie Sanders to be the nominee. When Biden advocated for Social Security cuts, and Warren was a Republican, Bernie was on the frontlines of civil rights battles and helped turn Burlington into a progressive city. The only person to have more small-donor fundraising than Trump is Sanders. No matter how much political pundits want to spin it, you need enthusiasm — you need real, physical support to win. Bernie’s supporters are younger, more diverse and less likely to be interested in politics, meaning he’s inspiring new people to get involved in the political process.  Now is the time to support Bernie — the only candidate that can win in 2020. 

Jacob Wartel is an Opinion Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. He can be reached at