Guest Column: Bernie Sanders can win against Donald Trump


Caitlin Yamada/ Iowa State Daily

Caleb Gates believes that people should consider caucusing for Bernie Sanders. He argues that, while many believe Joe Biden is the electable candidate, Sanders is the only one that is capable of beating Trump.

Caleb Gates

In January 2018, I lost my job as a direct result of President Trump’s policies. When I came to bed on election night 2016 and told my wife that Trump had won, she cried and asked me, “Are you going to lose your job?” I worked with refugees, and in December 2017 I learned Trump’s anti-refugee policies were shutting down the program I worked for. I was blessed to find another job working with refugees, but many others in that field were not so fortunate. Given the stakes, priority number one for election 2020 is beating Donald Trump. After mulling this decision for the last year, the answer is now clear: Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump.

Many believe Joe Biden is the safe candidate, the electable candidate. Not true! Given the Electoral College, which makes votes in white, rural states count more than votes in ethically-diverse, urban states, it’s possible no Democratic candidate could beat Donald Trump. But of all the Democratic candidates, Joe Biden is the most likely to lose to Trump. If Democrats nominate Joe Biden, Trump will win reelection. Look at every presidential election in the last 20 years. Every time a party has nominated the “safe” candidate, the “electable” candidate, Democratic or Republican, that candidate has lost. Gore, Kerry, McCain, Romney and Hillary Clinton were all promoted as “safe” and “electable.” Everyone lost. In contrast, many people thought there was no way George W. Bush, Barack Obama or Donald Trump could win. Yet they did. In 2020, Joe Biden is the “safe” candidate, the “electable” candidate. If someone voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012 and then voted for Trump in 2016, why would they vote Biden 2020? Again, if Democrats nominate Joe Biden, Trump will be reelected.

Pete Buttigieg’s return to the status quo and his Wall Street, corporate and industry financial backers have soured me to his candidacy. I love some of Andrew Yang’s ideas, but we need a president with political experience. Amy Klobuchar’s support seems limited to the Midwest and has even less black support than Pete Buttigieg. Tom Steyer does a lot of good things with his wealth. Buying his way into the White House is not one of them.

Elizabeth Warren’s policies are quite close to Bernie’s. A Warren presidency would thrill me. A Bernie/Warren ticket would be my dream team. However, Warren attracts a smaller demographic coalition than Sanders. Warren’s supporters tend to be whiter and wealthier than Bernie’s supporters. Bernie does well among the working class and the poor — many of whom are Latino and black. Those earning less than 50 thousand a year and who have less than a college degree support Sanders over Warren by greater than 10 percent.

In fact, black Americans under-35 support Sanders over Biden (42 percent to 30 percent — Washington Post-Ipsos Poll). Latinos back Sanders over Biden. Young black and Latino voters’ enthusiasm for Bernie will win their parents and grandparents’ support for Sanders. Conversely, the older black Americans and Latinos who support Biden will have less success in convincing their children and grandchildren to vote for Biden.

In a recent Monmouth poll, more self-identified moderates under-50 support Sanders than Biden (23 percent to 20 percent). Of the remaining candidates, only Sanders can rebuild and expand on the Obama coalition. In a general election, I predict more Warren supporters shifting to Sanders than Sanders supporters shifting to Warren. In 2016, an estimated 12 percent Sanders supporters voted for Trump in the general election. Many of these Trump voters feel that the Democratic party despises and dismisses them.

Bernie is the candidate whom a significant number of Trump voters would support. A Sanders nomination will also prevent an otherwise significant flight of votes from Democrat to third parties.

The least fortunate among us, the poor and those with less formal education than other demographics, know what they need and which candidate speaks for them. Sanders’ vision and policies more so than other candidates would lift up the poor, the marginalized and the less fortunate. Such policies not only are morally right, but economically sound.

Each of you must decide who to caucus for on Feb. 3, 2020. If you can caucus, please caucus. As you do, think how your vote will affect the least of these, and consider caucusing for Bernie Sanders.