Bernie Sanders significantly outraised his Democratic presidential rivals in the final three months of 2019. He is very much in the hunt for the first three contests of the primary season. He has run second, behind Joe Biden, in national polls for most of the past year and matches up better head-to-head against President Trump than either Elizabeth Warren or Pete Buttigieg. When Sanders supporters complain that the political press isn’t giving their guy the attention he deserves, they have a point.
Odds are that the Vermont senator won’t be the next president, but it isn’t out of the question. The RealClearPolitics polling average has him leading in Iowa and New Hampshire and less than a point out of second place in Nevada, the third contest. If he were to win a couple of these early races, he could lose the fourth in South Carolina, where he trails badly, and still have some momentum going into Super Tuesday on March 3.
Mr. Sanders’s $34.5 million fundraising haul in the fourth quarter was so impressive because the Democratic field remains so crowded. Mr. Trump raised $46 million for his campaign over the same period, but Republican donors don’t have 14 candidates to choose from. Moreover, the average donation to Mr. Sanders’s campaign was less than $20, and many of his donors are repeat low-dollar contributors. That suggests an intensity among his core supporters that can help him in caucus states, like Iowa and Nevada, which tend to reward the candidates who have the most engaged and motivated voters.
If his campaign starts strong, it’s possible that the Democratic establishment could turn on Bernie like it did four years ago. But that runs the risk of alienating his large and enthusiastic base of supporters, and it’s hard to see Democrats beating Mr. Trump without the Sandernistas chipping in. The rule requiring a candidate to get at least 15% of the vote in a state to be awarded any delegates should also work in the senator’s favor. As the number of candidates dwindles to three or four, his grass-roots support and sizable war chest should allow him to meet the threshold and again go the distance. After Super Tuesday in 2016, he won in more than a dozen additional states, including the general-election battlegrounds Wisconsin and Michigan, which Mrs. Clinton lost.
Mr. Sanders’s socialism is the last thing America needs, and let’s hope Democrats reject it. But in a country this divided, and with voters on both sides this motivated, the plain truth is that the president is vulnerable to anyone his opponents nominate. Which is all the more reason for journalists to stop treating the Sanders candidacy as a sideshow.
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Bernie Sanders significantly outraised his Democratic presidential rivals in the final three months of 2019. He is very much in the hunt for the first three contests of the primary season. He has run second, behind Joe Biden, in national polls.
Suddenly, Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is being taken seriously. For months, the Vermont senator was written off by Democratic Party insiders as a candidate with a committed but narrow base who was too far left to win the primary.
With the Iowa caucuses now less than a month away, a realization is setting in among the political class: Bernie Sanders has a very credible chance at winning the 2020 Democratic nomination.