Former President Obama's ex-campaign manager Jim Messina said Wednesday that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Manchin fires warning shot on plan to expand Medicare Democrats steamroll toward showdown on House floor MORE (I-Vt.) would not be able to beat President TrumpDonald TrumpTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Schumer sets Monday showdown on debt ceiling-government funding bill Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe MORE if the two were to face off in the 2020 general election.
Messina said during an episode of ABC News's Powerhouse Politics podcast that Trump would be able to defeat Sanders by highlighting the economy to sway swing voters.
"I think if you look at swing voters in this country, they are incredibly focused on the economy," Messina said. "I think today you look at it and say that Bernie Sanders is unlikely going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues."
Messina also said Sanders is well positioned to win the Democratic nomination.
"If nothing else, he will definitely be one of the final two or three candidates who has a shot at the nomination," Messina said.
He added that he considers Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden taps big bank skeptic to for top regulatory post Harris unveils 0M commitment to new global health fund Senate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam MORE (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTexas announces election audit in four counties after Trump demand Pennsylvania AG sues to block GOP subpoenas in election probe House passes sweeping defense policy bill MORE and former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeMatthew McConaughey on potential political run: 'I'm measuring it' Anti-Greg Abbott TV ad pulled minutes before college football game: Lincoln Project O'Rourke prepping run for governor in Texas: report MORE (D-Texas) to be the other leading contenders.
"I think we need to let this process play out," Messina said. "We're going to find out if Bernie Sanders can can move a message to both swing voters and his base. We're going to find out if Joe Biden is battle tested. We're going to figure out whether Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke and [South Bend, Ind.,] Mayor Pete [Buttigieg] have the magic we think they have."
Along with Biden, Sanders has been at the top of the Democratic field in early 2020 polling. His campaign raised the most money among Democratic candidates in the first quarter of 2019.