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History shows Comrade Sanders won't hurt Democrats, but Trump defies history

Kyle Kondik is the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball. He assured Democrats today that Bernie Sanders will not destroy the party's election hopes down the ballot.

In a piece in the New York Times, Kondik said, "Analysts generally do not see either party as strongly favored to win the presidency this fall, but the public seems to differ. A recent Monmouth University poll showed that two-thirds of American voters think the president definitely or probably will win. A Sanders nomination might make the public even likelier to view Mr. Trump as a favorite; Democrats, already pessimistic, are starting to hear skepticism from their own leaders about Mr. Sanders’s chances. Oddsmakers have also recently made Mr. Trump a more significant favorite.

"A consequence of Mr. Trump’s chronically low approval ratings is that even if Americans ultimately decide he’s the lesser of two evils this fall, there may be some voters who back him only tepidly or anticipate his victory and don’t want his party to have total control of the government. Mr. Sanders being a potentially weak opponent doesn’t necessarily make the president a beloved incumbent.

"That may work to the benefit of House Democrats, even as they now panic — rightly or wrongly — over the possibility of sharing the ballot with Mr. Sanders."

Well, if it is in the New York Times, the paper of record, it must be...


Panic, Democrats.

Kondik made a mistake common among the Nate Silver-style forecasters. He assumed job approval means everything. The final Gallup Poll before the 2016 election had Donald John Trump's approval at 36% -- 11 points behind Hillary's 47%.

On Election Day, he got 46% of the vote (10 points above his approval), she got 48% (1 point above her approval).

The pros working on actual campaigns see it otherwise. Democrats want to turn Texas blue.

Politico talked to Bill Miller, a longtime Austin lobbyist. He said of a Sanders ticket, "There is overall uncertainty which is growing. The real fear for Texas D’s remains Sanders. 'We’d be f***ed' — that’s what they’re saying. The drain at the top goes down to the bottom."

Jeff Hewitt, who has worked in Democratic politics since the 1990s, told Politico, "Sanders is a complete disaster and Warren is a complete-disaster-lite. At the end of the day, most of us want to win."

Over in Florida, Democrats are worried because Sanders praised Fidel Castro becoming the Marge Schott of American politics.

Politico quoted Miami Democrat Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who tweeted, "As the first South American immigrant member of Congress who proudly represents thousands of Cuban Americans, I find Senator Bernie Sanders’ comments on Castro’s Cuba absolutely unacceptable."

Democratic state Representative Javier Fernandez told Politico, "His comments are as ridiculous as they are insensitive and a perfect illustration as to why he is as the candidate in a Democratic field least capable of winning Florida and least prepared to be our president."

Mayra MacĂ­as, executive director of the liberal Latino Victory fund, told Politico, "The pathway to the White House runs through Florida, and comments like this not only affect Cubans, but also Venezuelans and Nicaraguans. Presidential candidates cannot afford to dismiss the pain communities in South Florida feel. Bernie Sanders needs to disavow his comments immediately."

The assumption is Breadline Bernie will lose bigly. President Trump took 30 states last time, and Republicans won all 22 Senate races in those states. A repeat performance would keep the Senate in Republican hands, especially if he carries more states this time.

History shows the House is lost. The last president to flip a House back after losing it in a midterm was Harry Truman. Even in their 49-state re-election, Nixon and Reagan fell well short that, as their party picked up but 12 House seats in 1972, and 16 seats in 1984.

Republicans need a net gain of 20 seats to take the House back.

But Never Bet Against The Donald, especially when the New York Times does.

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