According to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, President Trump’s 2020 Democratic opponent is very likely going to be Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.
An outcome that if proven to true, Trump would welcome because he reportedly sees “Crazy Bernie” as a gift to his reelection chances.
Appearing Sunday on Fox News’ “MediaBuzz,” Luntz addressed his recent polling on socialism versus capitalism.
“I’m gonna get chewed out by Rush Limbaugh, but for the wrong reasons,” Luntz said. “It’s not that the principles of capitalism are dead — in fact the principles of economic freedom are alive and well.”
“[C]apitalism itself has been so demonized by the media, it no longer functions as an economic system,” he told host Howard Kurtz. “And if you want to oppose socialism, you oppose it by talking about freedom, not capitalism.”
Luntz pointed to the New York Times as a major player in railing on capitalism, which is readily associated with Wall Street — this helps explain poll results that show nearly half of Trump voters support a 70 percent marginal tax rate on the top one percent of Americans, as proposed by democratic socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.
He said this shows that the public is “frustrated with being forgotten or left behind,” noting that this is what got Trump elected in 2016, but the feeling is alive on the left as well.
“It’s the reason Bernie Sanders did so well in 2016 and why, I’ll be blunt with you, he is the most likely nominee in 2020,” Luntz said.
That’s going way out on a limb this early on in the 2020 election. Especially with the latest polling showing former Vice President Joe Biden well ahead of Sanders.
The Daily Beast reported not too long ago that Trump is “salivating” at the prospect of going up against Sanders, 77, described by the online media outlet as “an elderly, self-declared democratic socialist.”
The article quotes Eric Bolling, a Trump family friend and former Fox News host, saying the president views a Sanders nomination being “a gift to his re-election campaign because he believes America is not ready for a socialist president of any kind.”
Jason Miller, Trump’s former transition team communications director was also quoted.
“Trump would love to run against Bernie Sanders because President Trump believes he would crush Bernie at the ballot box and be able to hit him over the head with his socialist rhetoric from now until the election,” Miller said.
The president referred to Sanders as “Crazy Bernie” in a recent tweet saying that the socialist senator is getting the shaft again from the DNC, which had its fat thumb on the scale in favor of Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary.
As for Sanders, he’s confident that he can pull from Trump’s working-class support and defeat the president in November 2020.
“Trump essentially lied to the American people,” Sanders said Thursday during an appearance on MSNBC. “Who were hurting, and for too many years the Democratic leadership ignored that pain and ignored the Midwest and the flyover states.”
Sanders said he will “expose” Trump “as the fraud that he is when he said that he — when he campaigned on being a friend of the working people.”
Record low unemployment may be tough to sell as being fraudulent, though.
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