In comments made on the South Lawn of the White House Sunday, President Trump told reporters that he thinks Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders will be the Democratic presidential nominee unless the Democratic Party bends the rules to block his nomination.
Many Sanders supporters felt the Democratic establishment favored the party’s 2016 nominee, Hillary Clinton, during that year’s primary contest and are concerned something similar could happen in 2020 to tip the scales against the democratic socialist senator. Sanders, however, has jumped out to be the clear front-runner, winning New Hampshire and Nevada while still competing with former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg for first in Iowa’s yet-to-be-decided caucuses.
“I think it was a great win for Bernie Sanders. We’ll see how it all turns out. They’ve got a lot of winning to do. I hope they’re treated fairly,” Trump said.
Then asked if he thought he would face Sanders in the general election, Trump said that he did, but added a qualifier.
“I think so, unless they cheat him out of it,” Trump said. “I think so. I think Bernie is looking more and more like he’ll be the nominee … A lot of people thought he was going to be the nominee last time and that didn’t work out.”
Those comments followed a Saturday night tweet in which Trump warned Sanders, “don’t let them [Democrats] take it away from you!”
Meanwhile, reports emerged last week that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was quietly plotting a strategy to unite moderate candidates’ delegates behind him to block Sanders at a brokered convention. An internal memo from his campaign, which warned that other moderate candidates should drop out before Super Tuesday to give Bloomberg a chance to stop Sanders from accruing a majority of delegates, also leaked last week.
This also comes as Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden are fighting over the mantle of the moderate, electable alternative heading into the South Carolina primary. Biden holds a thin lead there over Sanders, and a win in what has been called his firewall state could breathe new life into the flagging Biden effort.
Sanders, however, seemed to be cobbling together the kind of broad coalition that many questioned whether he could produce with his decisive Nevada win – Sanders took 46 percent of the vote with 60 percent reporting as of Sunday morning.
Nevada is a very diverse state and entrance polls, particularly one from NBC, seemed to indicate Sanders was overperforming with minorities and moderates.
“Our multiracial, multigenerational movement is not only going to win in Nevada. It is going to sweep this country,” the senator tweeted Saturday night.
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