Anti-Trump conservative says nominating Bernie Sanders would ‘guarantee’ Trump reelection

Conservative Charlie Sykes argued Thursday that left-leaning Democratic candidates like Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBullock: I would not have endorsed health care for undocumented immigrants on debate stage Harris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act MORE (I-Vt.) would almost “guarantee” another victory for President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller MORE in the 2020 election.

“There are candidates that if they nominate, I think would almost guarantee Donald Trump’s re-election,” Sykes, the editor-in-chief of conservative magazine The Bulwark, told Hill.TV’s Buck Sexton and Jamal Simmons about the emerging Democratic candidates for the presidential race.

“I think if they nominate Bernie Sanders, you’re going to see another four years of Donald Trump,” he added.

The Democratic primary race is already shaping up to be a crowded field.

Sanders, along with former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Biden campaign rips 'Medicare for All,' calls on Dems to protect Affordable Care Act Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' MORE, is one of the many candidates likely to run for the party’s nomination. So far, nine Democrats, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' What to expect when Mueller testifies: Not much MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHarris faces pressure to define policy proposals Harris voices support for Puerto Rico protesters: 'I stand with them' Democrats slam Puerto Rico governor over 'shameful' comments, back protesters MORE (Mass.) and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, have officially announced their presidential bids.

Sykes, who has long advocated against Trump, said Republicans on the other hand don’t have nearly as many options. So far, no Republicans have announced their intention to run against the president.

Even though the conservative editor acknowledged that Trump will likely be the GOP nominee in 2020, he hopes that there are at least some alternatives for the sake of party. 

“I really hope for the sake of the Republican Party that there’s an alternative,” he said. “I mean, I understand what the polls are; they’re very, very clear,” he said, noting that the president’s approval rating has remained strong among his Republican base even amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.

Trump’s overall approval rating has plummeted amid the partial government shutdown. But the latest polls suggest that his favorability has remained strong among his supporters.

According to a new survey by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 34 percent of Americans overall approve of Trump’s job performance. That’s down from 42 percent from the previous month.

Trump’s approval rating among Republicans, meanwhile, has nevertheless stayed close to 80 percent, including in the AP poll.

—Tess Bonn