Ever since the start of 2016 — and this means throughout the entire period while primary elections and caucuses have been held — only a single person has led both political Parties’ head-to-head hypothetical matchups against all of the given person’s opposite Party candidates: Bernie Sanders. A quick view of the recent head-to-head matchups in both Parties is here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/2016_presidential_race.html.
And here those results are shown ever since the start of the Presidential campaigns:
And here is the same thing shown at HuffPollster:
What this means is that among the total electorate — both Parties, and also including independents — Sanders has been the consistent leader as the person most preferred to become the next U.S. President.
There is no mystery as to why this is the case: Sanders has consistently had the highest net favorability rating of all of the Presidential candidates in both Parties. This is not speculation, and it is not debatable; it is the data.
In fact, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are rated more unfavorably than they are rated favorably — each of those two is in net-negative territory on favorability. In other words, with only Clinton and Trump as being realistically possible to become elected President, the U.S. Presidential contest is not between two attractive candidates, but between two unattractive ones.
If Bernie Sanders were somehow able to become a realistically possible alternative to the two major Parties’ nominees, and if this were to become generally recognized by voters to be the case by the time November 8th rolls around, then here are some of the questions that would dominate at that time and be considered by each individual voter:
Are more of his prospective voters coming from the pro-Clinton side, or from the pro-Trump side?
Do I care so much about which of those two would win, so that I would be more concerned to vote my conscience than I would be concerned to vote for the person whom I prefer merely between those two?
A choice of a net-positive will seem easy to many people for whom the two-person choice is only between two net-negatives.
Because of the high net-negatives for both Clinton and Trump, plus the billionaires’ backing of both of those candidates, any Clinton-Trump contest would accentuate the opposite candidate’s negatives. The negatives won’t be ignored. Furthermore, because of the net-positive favorability rating of Sanders, any attack against him from either the Democratic side or the Republican side would antagonize so many independents as to be potentially politically suicidal.
How can it NOT be likely that such a person as that will be a third candidate by November 8th? Where there is a will, there is often, by some imaginative means, a way; and where there is both a will and a way, there is also generally a rush of people who recognize it and who contribute their money to it.
I therefore disagree with anyone who says that it’s impossible for Sanders to become the next President.
Furthermore, if Clinton becomes indicted in the email matter, she might even be out of the picture entirely, by November 8th.
It’s a wild campaign year. And this could continue until Election Day (or maybe even beyond).
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.