Yes, you read that right. In a fascinating online chat with 538 Staffers. Nate Silver posed the question above and answered it in the affirmative. That sparked a lively discussion that could be a model of free debate and transparency. Evidently 538's organizational structure embraces a culture of open dissent and disputation. Evidently no one is afraid to disagree with Boss and Silver doesn't expect his employees to toe the line.
That only makes sense I suppose, since 538's whole business is supposed to be the accurate analysis of data. You can't really deliver on that if you rule out competing perspectives.
In the event, what followed Silvers' assertion was a wide ranging discussion where he was called upon to argue his claim. In the process, not only are the pros and cons of a Sanders run 2020 given a thorough shaking out, we are also given a peek at what some folks who make their living from politics are looking at and finding significant when forming their opinions.
Here 's a small sampling:
natesilver: Resistance, schmazistance. Bernie got 13 million votes in 2016. Isn't he next in line for the Democratic nomination? Like, let's not be too cute by putting Eric Garcetti in the same boat as BERNIE SANDERS?
harry: Hold on a second there. That's not what I'm saying at all. You were saying Sanders dictated other people in and out of the race -- your definition of a "front-runner." I'm saying he won't be dictating most people, including folks like Garcetti or Kamala Harris.- Advertisement -
clare.malone: Seconded. I think Sanders is still considered enough of an obstinate outsider by a lot of the party, so certain money people and thought-leader people are likely to back another horse.
perry: I'm going to concede Nate's basic point: Sanders starts out with a lot of supporters, donors, popularity, etc. He won 13 million more votes than any of these other people we are talking about.
natesilver: Harry, I see Sanders consistently polling at 20 percent and everyone else in the single digits. Doesn't that data prove my point?
harry: If you're going to use Sanders's prior support, then why is he polling at less than half of what he got in 2016? Doesn't that suggest that a lot of that support was merely anti-Clinton and not pro-Bernie?
natesilver: Because they're polling a ballot with 14 candidates, whereas it was a two-horse race in 2016. I dare you to look up Sanders's favorability ratings with Democrats, Harry!- Advertisement -
harry: I would say I think that Sanders does have room to grow. I think he could do very well with Latinos. He fought Clinton closely among them in some states.
perry: Yes, he can grow his support. I still think he will have trouble with upper-income and older liberals and blacks, which is why I think you will see lots of people seeing if they can fill those lanes.