Presidential Campaign

Why Sanders defeats Trump, but Trump defeats Clinton

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) currently leads Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump by 4 percentage points more than Hillary Clinton does, according to RealClearPolitics. However, while the polls have Clinton over Trump now, it’s Sanders who represents the best chance for a Democrat to beat the reality star. The Vermont senator is the worst nightmare for a GOP challenger, primarily because his value system is the antithesis of Republican stances on war, foreign policy, Wall Street and the economy.

{mosads}Clinton, on the other hand, is a moderate Democrat with neoconservative allies, ties to Wall Street, with an FBI investigation into her emails. Politico once referred to Clinton as “Wall Street Republicans’ dark secret,” so Trump has a myriad of political arrows to hurl at the former secretary of State. In fact, article headlines from Politico, The New York Times and The Washington Post could be easily be part of any disparaging political attack by Trump toward Clinton.

For Democrats to beat Trump, they need to present the nation with his foil, or political opposite. The GOP front-runner would do quite well against Clinton in a debate, primarily because he once donated money to her foundation and she holds similar views on a variety of key topics. Most importantly, the fact that Clinton once accepted money from Trump is a political nightmare for Democrats in a general election.

An ABC News article explains exactly why Democrats can’t win a general election with Clinton:

Just this week, Trump came under fire for a private telephone conversation with President Bill Clinton that took place just weeks before Trump announced his candidacy.

“I gave to many people before this,” Trump said at the debate today. “When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me.” …

The Clinton campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Palmieri said Trump’s comment “hurts [Sec. Clinton’s] feelings.”

“He invited her. They’re acquaintances. This is long, long established,” she said. “It hurt her feelings, I’m sure, to hear him suggest that he didn’t actually want her there for her company.”

All Donald Trump needs to say in a debate is that “they are there for me” when donating to rival political candidates — undermining the credibility of Clinton, who no doubt will try to convey a tough persona of championing the average American rather than billionaires. Also, it’s difficult to imagine that “it hurts her feelings” when confronted with the reality that Trump only invited Clinton to his wedding because of politics, as opposed to genuine friendship.

In addition to accepting donations from Trump, Democrats must acknowledge the fact that according to a recent CNN poll, “57 percent of Americans say [Clinton] is not honest and trustworthy (up from 49 percent in March).” Also according to CNN, 55 percent of registered voters have an unfavorable view of Clinton. As for swing states, July and August Quinnipiac Swing State polls find that those states have negative favorability toward Clinton and voters believe she is “not honest and trustworthy.”

Democrats should reevaluate any hopes of Clinton beating Trump after Anderson Cooper asked Clinton in the debate, “Will you say anything to get elected?”

While Trump also has negative favorability ratings, he’s pandered to the nativist and xenophobic portions of the GOP, and these voters don’t care about negative favorability ratings. Essentially, being deemed untrustworthy and unfavorable hurts a Democrat more than a Republican, and with the FBI investigating Clinton’s emails, these views will sink any chance of a Democrat in the White House.

On the other hand, Sanders isn’t linked to scandal, he’s vehemently against billionaires controlling politics, and his brand of democratic socialism serves as a stark contrast to Trump’s brash billionaire persona. Everything Sanders warns about is personified by Trump; billionaires in politics, Republicans and Democrats uniting to coddle Wall Street, a rigged economic system, etc.

In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week,” Sanders provided a stark contrast to Trump:

What we have seen in the last 30 years, as most Americans know, is a massive redistribution of wealth; unfortunately, it has gone in the wrong direction. From the middle class and working families to Donald Trump and his friends, the top one tenth of 1 percent.

Yes, let me be clear, if we are going to make public colleges and universities tuition free, as I believe we have to, in the 21st-century, yeah, we are going to have a tax on Wall Street speculation, yes, we are going ask Trump and his billionaire friends to pay more taxes. … We’ll come up with that rate, but it will be a damn lot higher than it is now.

Since it’s unimaginable that Clinton would ever speak in such bold terms, and since Clinton doesn’t even want to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, only Sanders provides Democrats with a true ideological challenge to the GOP.

Finally, while Clinton supporters deem the email scandal a “witch hunt,” the reality is that the FBI isn’t a partisan political organization. The scandal has been referred to as a “cancer” on the Clinton candidacy by Politico, even if James Carville calls it “BS.” Democrats simply can’t win on Election Day with the FBI as a running mate, regardless of what Clinton supporters say about the FBI investigation.

Ultimately, the only hope for Democrats beating Donald Trump is Bernie Sanders. He’s honest and brings tremendous enthusiasm to progressives and he’s raising more than enough money, without a super-PAC, to win the presidency. Sanders is almost surpassing Clinton in terms of fundraising, yet only 0.039 percent of Sanders’s donors have given the maximum money allowed. He experienced a greater boost in the polls than Clinton after the debate, so Democrats are rallying around the Vermont senator even as loyal supporters defend Clinton at all costs. When given the choice between Sanders or Clinton, Trump and the GOP would choose Clinton and her scandals over an energized base of progressives championing a Sanders presidency.

Goodman is an author and a journalist.

Tags 2016 Democratic primary 2016 presidential campaign Bernie Sanders Donald Trump Hillary Clinton

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