Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders is the most influential challenger to the Republican candidate heading into the 2020 presidential season, according to comments statistician Nate Silver made during a Thursday podcast.
The conversation came after Vox ran an article titled, “Bernie Sanders is the Democrats’ real 2020 frontrunner,” and Silver agrees with the analysis.
“I say YES,” the popular sports and political statistician said about Sanders’ status as an influential front-runner. “Let me clarify that ‘front-runner’ and ‘favorite’ are not synonyms to me. A ‘front-runner’ is the horse that jumps out to the front of the pack and dictates the action behind him.”
Silver asserted that Sanders created a movement during his 2016 primary challenge to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, paving the way for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s potential bid in 2020.
The Independent senator earned more than 13 million votes, a fact that Silver thinks is more important than other factors, like a lack of control over the “resistance,” or a poor track record in endorsing Democratic candidates so far in 2017.
Sanders is polling consistently around 20 percent, which is less than half of what he earned in 2016 polling, but much higher than anyone else, according to the discussion with political writers Harry Enten, Claire Malone, and Perry Bacon Jr.
Sanders began making moves in July toward a potential run when he went to Iowa to give a keynote speech at the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement annual conference. He’s also planning a tour of the state in August to push his upcoming book “Bernie Sanders: Guide to Political Revolution.”
He also said that he was open to running in a Thursday interview on SiriusXM’s Progress channel.
“I am not taking it off the table,” Sanders said. “I just have not made any decisions. And I think it’s much too early.”
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