My guest today is historian, election fraud investigator and author, Richard Hayes Phillips.
Joan Brunwasser: Welcome to OpEdNews, Richard. Back in 2008, we talked at great length about your forensic investigation of the 2004 presidential election in the crucial state of Ohio. Of late, you have appeared on Brad Friedman's BradBlog podcasts. This time, the topic has been whether or not Bernie Sanders is "electable". Tell us, please, how you have gone about determining the answer, at least for now, to that question.
Richard Hayes Phillips: In the spring of 2016, while examining the official results of the Democratic presidential primaries, I saw the maps of each state, county by county, and I couldn't help but notice the strength of Bernie Sanders in rural America. Later, in the November election, Donald Trump's huge margins in these very counties carried him to victory over Hillary Clinton. The similarity of the maps has stuck with me ever since. It suggested to me that if Sanders had been the nominee in 2016, Trump would not have won the election.
In the run-up to the 2020 presidential primaries, I saw articles that were nothing more than opinion, proclaiming that Bernie Sanders is "unelectable." The reason was always the same: he is "too far left" to win over those swing voters in the battleground states, the "Blue Wall" where the 2020 election is likely to be decided. I knew that Sanders had won the Michigan primary, the Wisconsin primary, and the Minnesota caucus. I wondered how many of those who had supported Sanders in the primaries had actually voted for Trump in the general election.
I soon found actual data, a very large-scale poll, showing that these Sanders/Trump voters had made the difference in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the very states that had cost Hillary Clinton the election. When I saw that the current polling averages for head-to-head contests, state by state, show Sanders beating Trump in the electoral college, this analysis was confirmed. Bernie Sanders is not "unelectable." He would be a serious, viable, electable challenger to Donald Trump, and no one should overlook him on the mistaken notion that he cannot possibly win.
JB: Since the corporate press has been consistently and loudly banging on the drum of Bernie's supposed unelectability, let's go to the actual data that you studied. Can you give us an example or two of what you saw and what it signifies, to better illustrate your point?
RHP: The articles proclaiming that Bernie is "unelectable" are opinions, not based upon actual data. They say that current polls regularly show Biden beating Trump in the battleground states, which is true. The Real Clear Politics polling averages for head-to-head matchups in the general election, as of this posting, show Biden beating Trump by 368 to 170 in the electoral college, with a lead of 6.5% or more in enough states to win. This suggests that if the election were held today, Biden would be the strongest candidate. But the very same polls show Sanders beating Trump by 312 to 197 in the electoral college (with Florida a flat-footed tie), and leading by 2.5% or more in enough states to win. By this metric, although his margin is not as large, Sanders is not unelectable.
Map of Electoral College based upon current polling averages
(Image by courtesy of RHP, using interactive map from 270towin.com) Details DMCA
A massive nationwide poll conducted after the 2016 election strongly suggests that Trump would have lost if Sanders had been the nominee. Among 64,600 respondents, all of whom were verified as having actually voted in the primaries and the general election, 12% of those who voted for Sanders in the primaries voted for Trump in November. The percentages were 9% in Wisconsin, 8% in Michigan, and 16% in Pennsylvania, all of which equate to more than twice the margins by which Hillary Clinton lost these states and thus lost the electoral college.
Look at the maps from the 2016 primaries and caucuses.
Bernie Sanders carried much of the "Blue Wall," defeating Hillary Clinton in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. All over the country, Bernie ran very strongly in rural America, in the very counties the Republicans are counting on to get Trump reelected. If Bernie is the nominee, it will be more difficult for Trump to run up the huge margins in rural counties that he would need to overcome the Democratic margins in urban areas.
And Sanders did get more votes than Trump, nationwide, in the primaries and caucuses.
JB: How much do you trust the numbers you just cited? And why or why not?
RHP: That's a three-part question.
The Real Clear Politics polling averages seem more reliable than any single public opinion poll, which vary widely due to the sample sizes and the margins of error. These averages are drawn from 45 polls in 14 battleground states. The smallest sample is 410 registered voters, with a 6.0% margin of error. The largest sample is 2,223 registered voters, with a 2.6% margin of error. Some polls are limited to "likely voters" -- a designation that might be subjective. All these polls are a snapshot in time. Some voters will change their minds between now and Election Day.
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