Opinion: Can Bernie Beat Trump?

By John Avlon at CNN

Can Bernie win? It’s the 270-electoral vote question. The #1 Democratic issue this year is beating Trump.

While Barry Goldwater and George McGovern are examples of ideologically extreme candidates badly positioned to win over swing voters, maybe Bernie is different.

As Pete Hamby wrote in Vanity Fair, “Instead of asking if Sanders is unelectable, ask another question: What if Sanders is actually the MOST electable Democrat?”

Bernie is a celebrity. He is consistent, authentic, and well known for being a self-described democratic socialist.

But there’s plenty to suggest that those views play better in a polarized Democratic primary than in a general election.

According to a Pew Research Center poll, 15% of Democrats call themselves very liberal (presumably where a democratic socialist would fall). Beyond that, 32% call themselves liberal, 38% moderate, and 14% as conservative. See more on that here.

In the overall American electorate, 27% identify as Democrats, 30% as Republicans, and 42% declare themselves Independents.

Likewise, Gallup makes it clear that America remains a center-right nation, with 37% of Americans calling themselves conservative, 35% moderate and just 24% liberal.

Any nominee is going to need to win votes beyond their base to win the presidency — and a far left candidate will presumably have more ground to make up.


This op-ed is in CNN today by John Avlon. To see it in its entirety, click here.