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

Conservative Charlie Sykes argued Thursday that left-leaning Democratic candidates like Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersAlan Dershowitz: In defense of Chelsea Clinton O'Rourke: Decisions on late-term abortions 'best left to a woman and her doctor' CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina MORE (I-Vt.) would almost “guarantee” another victory for President TrumpDonald John TrumpDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals to visit White House on Monday Transportation Dept requests formal audit of Boeing 737 Max certification 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 BidenJoseph (Joe) Robinette BidenTrump: 'I was never a fan of John McCain and I never will be' Poll: Biden rises to 8-point lead over Sanders among Democratic primary voters Andrew Yang draws crowd of 3,000 in San Francisco MORE, is one of the many candidates likely to run for the party’s nomination. So far, nine Democrats, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisGOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 CNN to host town hall with Cory Booker in South Carolina O'Rourke sees 'a lot of wisdom' in abolishing Electoral College MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenDem lawmaker says Electoral College was 'conceived' as way to perpetuate slavery GOP rep to introduce constitutional amendment to limit Supreme Court seats to 9 Warren introduces petition to end the Electoral College 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