President Donald Trump suggested to his supporters in South Carolina cast their primary ballots for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during his rally Friday, the second straight Democratic primary in which he’s suggested his supporters get involved. Trump suggested this with the following comments:
- “By the way, the Republicans allowed to vote in the — are you ready?”
- “Are you ready? Let’s do it together,” Trump said, going on to say that he “this is OK from a campaign finance standpoint.”
- “First we have to figure out who would be the ‘weakest candidate,‘ and then if it’s legal — if it’s permissible by law.”
The Palmetto State has been the focus of “Operation Chaos”: an attempt by some conservatives in the state to disrupt the Democratic primary by voting in the contest, with the goal of injecting uncertainty into the party’s presidential nominating process. Here is a video analysis of some Republicans said to be at work:
Is this a good idea and are we sure that this won’t backfire? It’s political chess. This begs the question:
Who is the Easiest to Beat for Trump in 2020?
Here is the current thinking from some media pundits on the Democratic presidential hopefuls:
Axios – If Biden wins South Carolina commandingly, he lives to fight on Super Tuesday. But if Sanders manages to even come close, it’ll fuel his juggernaut. Biden has bet it all on South Carolina to position himself as the best alternative to Sanders.
Real Clear Politics polling averages have Sanders in the lead in California, Virginia, Texas and North Carolina — all crucial Super Tuesday states.
Polls show Biden leading here by 20 points, but his supporters feel the weight of his national political survival on their shoulders — and Sanders is whittling away at Biden’s lead.
FiveThirtyEight estimates that if Sanders were to win in South Carolina, he could end up with a little more than half of all the pledged delegates after Super Tuesday — and be in strong shape to win the nomination.
If the goal is to steer the Democrats into a brokered convention, Bloomberg or some other dark-horse could appear from the smoke-filled back rooms at DNC headquarters. This is still in play and yet another political calculation, though right now there does not seem to be strong candidate waiting in the wings. Here are the latest odds from FiveThirtyEight:
The short answer to the question we posed is that Trump can and will beat either “weak” candidate in November of 2020. But the arguments will be different. Here is our break down of the main arguments posed against either candidate:
Arguments against Biden:
- Biden is gaff prone and is just getting too old to maintain the pace of a presidential candidate – at least in his state of health. Here is just the latest example: Joe Biden Accidentally Creates a New State While on the Campaign Trail in South Carolina.
- Biden would need to re-litigate the Trump Impeachment hearings and explain his and his son’s involvement in Ukraine and China.
- Biden has said some fairly far left comments in order to capture the far left Progressives. He would need to flip flop back to his more traditional center-left positions of the past.
- Biden simply can get anyone excited about his candidacy other than DNC insiders. Here is an example: Small Crowds for Biden and Buttigieg in Iowa.
Arguments against Sanders:
- Sanders is old as well, with his recent heart condition scare, but for now, it does not seem to be affecting his mind in the same way as Biden.
- The biggest issue for Sanders is that it sets up a big ideological battle – capitalism vs. socialism. A battle many conservatives would love to have.
- Sanders is not a Democrat and he is struggling to get mainstream Democrats and minorities on board with his candidacy. Here is just an example: The dire problem that Bernie Sanders has to fix
- Sanders does generate buzz, unlike Biden. Here was one headline: Bernie Sanders Hosts Largest Democratic New Hampshire Rally the Night Before Primary.
To be honest, I am not sure which is the “weakest candidate.” The thinking today is that it might be Biden. Let Biden win the Democratic South Carolina primary, and it might assure us a brokered convention in the summer, as Sanders is polling strong and generating buzz amongst his Progressive base. But politics is fickle and changes rapidly. What is your opinion? Make your comments below.