Even though recent data shows former Vice President Joe Biden is the most electable Democratic candidate – both in national and swing state polling – Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders called him “ill-suited to defeat Trump” in November.
In a new interview with The Washington Post published Thursday, Sanders slammed the former VP’s long record in government and accused him of being too close to the establishment.
“It’s just a lot of baggage that Joe takes into a campaign, which isn’t going to create energy and excitement,” Sanders said. “He brings into this campaign a record which is so weak that it just cannot create the kind of excitement and energy that is going to be needed to defeat Donald Trump.”
The independent lawmaker’s comments are his sharpest attacks on Biden to date, but they show that Sanders recognizes that his biggest weakness – electability – is the former VP’s greatest strength.
Biden is the only candidate who reaches the magic 270 electoral votes needed to win
The only problem with Sanders’ assessment of Biden’s chances against Trump is that a mountain of national and statewide polling data contradicts it.
In fact, based on the current RealClearPolitics average of state-by-state polling, Biden is the only candidate among the Democratic frontrunners – including Sanders – who is leading Trump in enough states to win the Electoral College.
As of Dec. 31, Biden stands at 322 electoral votes compared to Trump’s 166, with 50 electoral votes falling into the toss-up category.
Sanders, on the other hand, leads in states totaling just 265 electoral votes to Trump’s 257 electoral votes. Only North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes fall into the toss-up category.
The same is true of Elizabeth Warren, who currently leads Trump in states that total just 251 electoral votes compared to Trump’s 257 electoral votes with 30 electoral votes too close to call.
In other words, Sanders and Warren may tout enthusiasm and crowd sizes, but polling shows that only Biden would comfortably win the Electoral College in November.
2020 Electoral map based on RCP average Polls:
Tossups 30 pic.twitter.com/8zulg5v3Tu
— Political Polls (@PpollingNumbers) January 1, 2020
Biden’s electability case was further bolstered this week with a new Florida poll showing that he’s the only Democratic candidate in the field who leads Trump in a hypothetical matchup.
Ultimately, the 2020 election is going to be closely contested no matter who the Democratic nominee is.
But Sanders’ argument over electability will likely fall flat if polling continues to show – as it has during much of this election cycle – that Biden is the strongest candidate to take on Trump in November.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.