Jim Messina, a former campaign manager for Barack Obama, thinks Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wouldn’t be able to beat President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.
Messina said in an interview with ABC’s Powerhouse Politics podcast this week that he thinks the Democratic socialist Sanders would struggle with winning swing voters compared to Trump when it comes to addressing economic issues.
“Bernie Sanders is unlikely to going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues,” Messina said.
He also predicted that Sanders would be one of the final two or three candidates, adding that other prominent presidential hopeful Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and former Vice President Joe Biden are also people to keep an eye on. Biden is expected to announce his 2020 bid on April 24.
Messina also went on to say Sanders would struggle at exciting the Democratic base to attract new voters and grab swing voters—a combo he said helped former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama win the candidacy.
“And to win an election against Donald Trump you have to do both. … We’re going to look for a nominee to do both and today we would say in the general election context Bernie Sanders wouldn’t be that candidate,” he said.
Messina’s remarks follow President Trump’s prediction that either Sanders and Biden would be the Democratic nominee.
“I believe it will be Crazy Bernie Sanders vs. Sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best Economy in the history of our Country (and MANY other great things)! I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God Rest Their Soul!” Trump wrote on Twitter on April 16.
I believe it will be Crazy Bernie Sanders vs. Sleepy Joe Biden as the two finalists to run against maybe the best Economy in the history of our Country (and MANY other great things)! I look forward to facing whoever it may be. May God Rest Their Soul!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2019
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who had led every one of the 35 early polls to date, fell to second place for the first time, trailing Sanders by five percentage points. Biden still leads the Democratic field by almost 10 points in an average of polling data aggregated by Real Clear Politics.
“Biden has seen his support drop. In February, he led Sanders 27 percent to 17 percent, and in March, the two were tied at 26 percent. Now, Sanders has a five-point lead,” Spencer Kimball, director of Emerson Polling, said in a statement.
The Emerson poll showed Biden performing best in a head-to-head contest with President Donald Trump, with 53 percent of the respondents picking Biden and 47 percent favoring Trump.
Sander’s popularity is indicative of the shift to the hard-left within the Democratic Party. For example, Sanders’s socialist “Medicare for All” bill had no co-sponsors in Congress six years ago but the bill is now supported by one-third of Senate Democrats and two-thirds of House Democrats.
If implemented, Medicare for All would hand the federal government a monopoly over the health care industry and cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $32 trillion during the first 10 years. In comparison, the total projected spending by the federal government over the next decade is $60 trillion.
In response to this shift, the Trump campaign is focused on exposing a dramatic shift toward socialism among the Democratic candidates while spotlighting the successes of the president’s administration.
“We thought that debate ended in the 1980s. We thought it ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but here we are today with Democrats wanting to take us the way of Venezuela,” Kayleigh McEnany, press secretary for the Trump 2020 campaign, told The Epoch Times earlier this month.
“So we’re all very keenly focused on socialism—every single one of us in the campaign.”
The Epoch Times Reporter Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.