Krystal Ball lays out Sanders's path to victory in 2020

Opinion by: Krystal Ball

Huge news for the Sanders's campaign.

A new national Emerson Poll has Bernie surging into a tie for first place with Joe BidenJoe BidenCDC working to tighten testing requirement for international travelers On The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Manchin seeks 'adjustments' to spending plan MORE. I guess maybe his campaign wasn't imploding as has been suggested by pundits time and time again. so here's the poll. It's got Bernie and Biden both at 27% Warren at 20 and new alleged frontrunner Pete down at 7%. Now let's throw in the caveats, this poll is a bit of an outlier and it has a sizeable margin of error. Bernie's national average at rcp is about 8 points lower than it shows up in this poll.

However, something else significant just happened as well. For the first time in 2 months, Bernie has overtaken Warren in that 2nd place position in the Real Clear Politics national average. So we're not just talking about 1 outlier poll here, we are talking about a trend that has Bernie on the rise and Warren falling off as Pete steals her voters.

It's actually a pretty big deal. Especially for a campaign that is consistently ignored and dismissed by the media. I mean just look at this week's debate coverage. Neither CNN or Washington Post mentioned Sanders as either a winner or a loser of the debate. They just ignored him all together. Over at the New York Times Gail Collins made this insightful observation: "don't think you can be president when you sound this cranky." that was it. That was the entirety of her critique. for warren she wrote: "she always has the best answers. and she's sounding more accessible. and nobody else matched her." Just can't understand why so much of the public thinks the media is biased.

So earlier this week I laid out the path for how Biden could win. It basically looks like not getting completely embarrassed in Iowa and New Hampshire, reclaiming some momentum in South Carolina and then having a very strong super Tuesday when a lot of southern states with significant black populations vote. I think there's a fairly good chance that's exactly what happens. previously i laid out the path for Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Restless progressives eye 2024 Poll: Harris, Michelle Obama lead for 2024 if Biden doesn't run MORE, it looks like becoming the chosen candidate that white liberals coalesce around so that she wins Iowa and New Hampshire and shakes up the current dynamics that have voters of color favoring Biden and Bernie. honestly the rise of Pete, and a few key Warren missteps has made that path seem less likely than it did at the time but I certainly don't rule it out. So with Bernie on the rise, racking up endorsements from pop stars and political stars, breaking fundraising records and firing up massive crowds, now seems like a good time to lay out exactly how Bernard Sanders could end up as the democratic nominee. As we sit here today, I actually think Bernie winning or Biden winning are the most likely scenarios. After all, they've got exactly the kind of solid and committed working class bases that traditionally launch Democratic candidates straight to the nomination.

Alright here's how I see it. I think to get the media to pay attention and convince the public he's got a shot, Bernie has got to win either Iowa or New Hampshire. but this is where their complete dismissal of him actually becomes an asset, if he's able to pull off a win after they've gone out of their way to ignore him, it will be a massive shock and major news. a potentially ground shifting event. I could be wrong about this but I think if he doesn't pull off a win in one of these states it will be tough to gain the momentum that he needs to upend Biden from the that top spot. There's good reason to believe though that either one or both of those states is in reach. One of the things that is critical in iowa is organization and energy. Your supporters have to show up to caucus. They have to understand the rules. They have to know how to win over other voters who are released when their candidates don't hit 15%. This isn't Bernie's first trip to the rodeo and moreover, every poll shows that his supporters are both the most enthusiastic and also the most committed. This latest emerson poll that has him at the top proves this once again. This is actually really interesting.

71% of Bernie's supporters say they will definitely vote for him. That compares to 60% of Biden supporters, 46% of Warren supporters and only 31% of Buttigieg supporters. This is of course consistent with the idea that the white affluent liberal demographic is the most unsettled, shifting from Kamala to Warren and now to Pete but are they definitely still in shopping mode.

New Hampshire has different strengths for Bernie. Of course he's senator of a neighboring state. But maybe even more importantly, he's always done well with independents. It's an open primary and you can easily see him pulling in new voters that aren't necessarily being reached by the pollsters.

So if he comes out of Iowa or New Hampshire with a win then it's off to the races. I think Biden will hold South Carolina almost no matter what but Nevada is very much in play for Sanders having a sizable Latino population, very strong union vote, and independent tradition. California and Texas are similarly target rich environments for team Sanders with large, young Latino populations and massive delegate counts up for grabs. Just so you get a little sense. Here's the reception he received last week at a Hispanic focused forum in LA that was open to all candidates. You would think it was a Bernie rally.

Both Texas and California vote on Super Tuesday. Biden’s got lot of strongholds in southern states on Super Tuesday as well but I wouldn't underestimate Bernie in the south. Biden may be strong with older African Americans but Bernie consistently wins the younger demographics. If he takes California and Texas and holds down losses in the southern Super Tuesday states then I think he's very likely to be the nominee.

Something that Sanders Senior Advisor Chuck Rocha always stresses to us is the organization build out. Look past Iowa and New Hampshire to who has the money and the field team to compete in these huge states like California. Sanders has about 40 paid staffers on the ground in the golden state. warren has 9. Pete has 5. I couldn't find any details for Biden but given his cash woes I can't imagine he's terribly well positioned.

One thing i'm often asked and think a lot about is whether the establishment would let Bernie win. The answer frankly is no. If they could actually wrap their head around the fact that he could very possibly end up the nominee, they would do absolutely everything they could to block him. But they are so discredited and impotent that I'm honestly not sure what they could do to stop him at this point. The more that they openly loathe him, the more ruling class candidates they threw at him, the stronger he would become. Everything they could do to try to smear and slow him would only elevate him and make him more appealing to the young voters, working class voters, and independents who are disgusted with the party establishment. If they do wake up and panic, it could honestly be the best thing that could happen to him. In fact, the establishment's obvious vitriol rather than just ignoring him, could be exactly the missing ingredient to put Bernie and his working class movement over the top. I’m quite certain that he welcomes their hatred.