The case for picking Clinton over Sanders

Daily Beast columnist Jay Michaelson, who confesses he agrees with Bernie Sanders on most of the issues on which Sanders differs from Hillary Clinton, nonetheless makes a strong argument for Clinton based on electability.

As one who has said several times that — especially under current circumstances — Democrats should weigh electability heavily in deciding whom to nominate, I encourage Democrats to read his column.

Michaelson acknowledges that the most recent matchup polling between Clinton or Sanders versus the leading Republican contenders show Sanders doing better. Like many people, he dismisses the relevance of these polls based on the fact that Sanders’ life-story and policy positions have not yet been submitted to the Republican attack machine, whereas the Repub attacks on Clinton from years past are already baked into her poll numbers.

I’ve heard this repeatedly before, but Michaelson goes into greater detail to back up that argument, citing other poll results that suggest a large segment of the electorate says they would not vote for a socialist or an atheist. (Sanders doesn’t use that word, but his description of his spiritual life will strike many voters that way.) Sanders favors tax increases that would fall on almost everyone to pay for his programs. Of course, as he points out all the time, if you pay a tax that gets you single-payer health insurance, and therefore don’t have to pay private insurance premiums, many Americans will come out ahead on the deal. But that argument may not come across in Republican attack ads.

Michaelson acknowledges the Sanders argument that his candidacy will motivate a lot of young people to vote who otherwise might not, but he concludes that the loss of moderate swing voters for the reasons outlined above will be a much larger factor.

There’s more along these lines. Read the whole Michaelson column here. It’s headlined: “A vote for Bernie Sanders is a vote for Donald Trump.”

Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 02/17/2016 - 09:42 am.

    I would characterize Sanders as a Deist

    not an atheist.
    His descriptions of his spiritual leanings sound much like Einstein’s statement:
    “I believe in Spinoza’s God.”
    Note: many of the Founding Fathers were some variety of Deist.
    Admittedly, this is a distinction that would go over the heads (or under the feet) of most voters.
    However, it could be used as a positive selling point, since it makes it unlikely that Sanders would be biased for or against ANY religion (very First Amendment).

  2. Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 02/17/2016 - 11:09 am.

    Give up while you still can!

    Egad. It’s clear why even Democrats call the Democrats “spineless wonders.” I’m sorry, but it’s time that we go down with guns a’blazin’ rather than take the poison pill with the first “boo!” If that means we end up with a truly awful president, well, then I guess next time more people should put their big girl undies on and vote for who they believe in and not who is simply not quite as bad as the guy who wants us to send us back to the 15th century.

  3. Submitted by Ed Felien on 02/17/2016 - 01:44 pm.

    Sanders path to victory

    Michaelson argues there is no possibility that Sanders can win. That’s what they said about Iowa. That’s what they said about New Hampshire when Hillary was 30 points ahead. Sanders has an army of volunteers and a clear message. If we have the time, we can win in 2016. But, for the first time in a very long time, I have faith that we will win eventually.

    la lucha continua no terminara facilmente

  4. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 02/17/2016 - 03:21 pm.

    I guess then we should let the right wing attack dogs

    …drive our elections? Surrender right now – because Eric and this Michaelson fellow think it will be less painful??

    Mr. Black consistently seeks to elevate the rhetoric of those who would marginalize Mr. Sanders. It is nothing more nor less than propaganda.

  5. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 02/17/2016 - 07:31 pm.

    The interesting part here is how people are ready to vote for unqualified and untruthful candidate over honest and, in their minds, qualified one for purely political and ideological reasons… why care about this country’s future.

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