In the latest New York Times/CBS poll, the results show that Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonGary Johnson wins Libertarian nomination Clinton emails dominate Sunday shows Superdelegate sees sexism in criticism of Clinton MORE (D) would defeat Republican front-runner Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump: Illegal immigrants treated better than veterans WATCH LIVE: Trump speaks at Rolling Thunder Snowden mocks Trump for refusing to debate Sanders MORE by 10 percentage points and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSnowden mocks Trump for refusing to debate Sanders Clinton emails dominate Sunday shows Sanders supporters up in arms over Puerto Rico polling locations MORE (Vt.) would defeat Trump by 15 points — numbers consistent other recent polling.
Sanders is the king of credibility in the 2016 campaign because no matter how the question is posed, and no matter whether it is party members or all voters who are polled, Sanders leads all Democratic and all Republican candidate when it comes to honesty, trustworthiness or net favorable/unfavorable ratings.
Think about it: In an age of anti-establishment fervor, at a time when RealClearPolitics finds that Congress is held in disapproval by between 75 and 80 percent of voters, Sanders has achieved spectacularly positive numbers on matters of honesty, trust and favorability that are not matched by any Democrat or Republican running for president, or a Congress that is held in disrepute by more than three-fourths of the American people.
To the great degree that there is an anti-establishment fervor throughout the nation, we can view the relative strength of Sanders and Trump as a separate primary for primacy of the anti-establishment vote. In this primary, Sanders overwhelms Trump by landslide margins.
In the RealClearPolitics poll average, Sanders defeat Trump by a gigantic 17 points. In the last four polls on the RealClearPolitics list as of this morning, Sanders defeated Trump by margins of 15, 20, 18 and 15 points.
I would submit there are two reasons for the potentially epic landslide margins for Sanders over Trump. The first reason is that there is a progressive populist majority in America today, shown by the huge Sanders lead over Trump and the Sanders lead over every Republican candidate. In another RealClearPolitics polling average, for example, Sanders leads Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzMeet the billionaire donor behind Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit against Gawker Party chairs see reversal of fortune McConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ MORE (R-Texas) by 8 points.
The second reason for the potentially epic landslide margin for Sanders over Trump is that Sanders towers over Trump in favorable ratings and ratings for being honest and trustworthy. Sanders has an appeal among political independents that Trump cannot come close to matching, while Trump repels so many voters that even many Republicans will not support Trump in a general election.
All Democrats should understand and heed the lesson of the Sanders numbers for favorability ratings, honesty and trustworthiness.
There are some groups, such as the corporatist Democratic group Third Way, that want Democrats to be the party of Wall Street. Third Way, which was favorably quoted by Republican columnist Michael Gerson in Tuesday's Washington Post, is now attacking the very concept of the Sanders revolution and his populism. It is no coincidence that Third Way, which wants Clinton to move away from progressive populism, is quoted by a prominent Republican columnist.
What makes Sanders special, what drives his huge surge of small donors far in excess of anything achieved by any other candidate of either party, is that he champions a progressive populism with an integrity and clarity that makes him the king of credibility in the campaign with numbers for honesty and trustworthiness that are unmatched by any other candidate in either party.
In the most real and important sense, Sanders is truly the king of credibility in the 2016 campaign.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.