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 SandersIraq War looms over Trump battle with Iran 2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Iowa Democrats brace for caucus turnout surge MORE (I-Vt.) would almost “guarantee” another victory for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push 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 BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Democrats sense new momentum in Trump tax return fight Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie becomes first African to deliver Yale graduation speech MORE, is one of the many candidates likely to run for the party’s nomination. So far, nine Democrats, including Sens. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisThe Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers MORE (Calif.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann Warren2020 Dems break political taboos by endorsing litmus tests Biden says Congress must move to protect abortion rights Harris seeks Iowa edge with army of volunteers 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