Why Sanders outperforms Clinton against Republicans

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In a new CNN/ORC poll released Tuesday morning, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders mocks ‘tough guy’ Trump for changing mind on debate Clinton email headache is about to get worse WATCH LIVE: Trump holds Calif. rally after backing out of Sanders debate MORE (Vt.) defeats Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders mocks ‘tough guy’ Trump for changing mind on debate 35 arrested in clashes outside Trump rally Clinton email headache is about to get worse MORE (R) in a general election match-up by 55 percent to 43 percent, defeats Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzMcConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ Cruz holds back support for Trump with eye on abortion Trump takes victory lap over rivals' remarks MORE (R-Texas) by 57 percent to 40 percent and defeats Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioFla. Senate candidate bashes Rubio The Hill's 12:30 Report Rubio: 'Maybe' would run for Senate seat if 'good friend' wasn't MORE (R-Fla.) by 53 percent to 45 percent.

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By contrast, Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonClinton email headache is about to get worse Asian, Pacific Islander lawmakers to endorse Clinton Feds fight to prevent Clinton deposition in email case MORE (D) defeats Trump by 52 percent to 44 percent, less than Sanders but still impressive. However, while Sanders would defeat Rubio and Cruz by hefty margins, Rubio beats Clinton, 50 percent to 47 percent, while Cruz defeats her 49 percent to 48 percent.

This new poll is not an outlier. It reflects the broad trends of most polling. What do these data tell us?

The data tell us that Trump would be an epic disaster for Republicans and would probably lead the GOP to a landslide defeat. Most leading Republicans agree with this publicly or privately.

Second, the data tell us that Clinton could be vulnerable in a general election if the GOP does not nominate Trump.

Most important, this latest of many polls showing Sanders running well ahead of Clinton against Republicans suggests that the real majority in American is not the conservatism of Cruz, the ugly and divisive politics of Trump, or the crony capitalist centrism of groups such as the erstwhile Democratic Leadership Council or Third Way.

The real majority in American politics is the progressive populism of Sanders, which is a major reason polls suggest he would run stronger than Clinton against Republican opponents.

The GOP debate and the media that cover politics are dominated by whether Trump has sympathies with the Ku Klux Klan, retweets the wisdom of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, ridicules disabled people, refers to various women as "dogs" and "slobs," proposes war crimes, enjoys watching protesters being beaten up at his rallies and enjoys a mutual admiration society with Russian strongman Vladimir Putin.

By contrast, Sanders speaks of making healthcare truly universal through a single-payer system, raising the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour, providing young people with a free public college education financed by a tax on Wall Street speculation, increasing Social Security benefits and breaking up the big banks, a position recently championed even by a member of the Federal Reserve Board.

Progressive populism triumphs politically over the supply-side economics of the right, the root-canal budget-cutting of more establishment Republicans and the crony capitalism of more conservative Democrats.

What happened on Super Tuesday for Democrats was that Clinton did very well, Sanders did fairly well by winning four states, and they have begun discussing their issues with far more civility than Republicans, who are bitterly divided and panicked over the rise of Trump.

Bernie Sanders is winning the battle of ideas. In most polling, he soundly defeats Republicans because his message is far more powerful and appealing to the nation. Hillary Clinton is moving in the direction of Sanders by emphasizing more progressive and populist positions, which is good for America and heathy for Democrats.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at brentbbi@webtv.net.

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