Was Bernie a likely nominee from the beginning?
In 2016, Bernie’s supporters saw him winning 46% of the vote and thought, “He was so close; next time he’ll do a little bit better and win!”
Others saw Sanders stuck at 18% in 2020 national polls, and just did some quick arithmetic:
“I guess 28% of Democratic primary voters hate Hillary so much that they would vote for Sanders in a head-to-head match-up, even though he would never be their first choice.” The 2020 field has many not-Hillary-candidates to choose from so Sanders is in a weaker position than he was in 2016.
To be fair, they could both be right…sorta.
After a few early state contests, presidential primaries tend to become two-person races. Before Iowa votes, it is a wide-open field.
Right now, Sanders could be poised to win New Hampshire (and therefore become one of the two people we argue about until the convention) and simultaneously struggle to get the support of more than 75% of the primary voters.
…but also, a ton of this is based on the premise that ‘Biden couldn’t possibly win the nomination’ even though he is polling in the lead…but that is the same thing that people said about Trump during the 2016 primary. We should probably believe the polls.
Edit: Made it clear that the polls in the last paragraph reference primary polls, not general election polls.
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