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Bernie Sanders Is Now The Democratic Front-Runner, And That Should Worry Republicans

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Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has emerged as the front-runner for the Democratic presidential primary nomination.

Recent polling has seen his lead increasing for next week’s Iowa Caucuses, and he has consistently led in New Hampshire. The RealClearPolitics polling average currently shows Sanders leading the rest of the Democratic field by 3%, and polling released last week and over the weekend suggests he’s a formidable favorite. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders Campaign Organizer Says ‘F**king Cities Burn’ If Trump Gets Reelected, According To Project Veritas Video)

A New York Times poll published Saturday found Sanders leading the crowded field with 25% of the vote, followed by former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and former Vice President Joe Biden, who pulled in 18% and 17% respectively. The latest updated RealClearPolitics polling average also shows Sanders up by more than 7% in New Hampshire, the second primary state. It appears that Sanders is the overwhelming favorite in the first two primary states, and has been gaining ground against Biden in the third, Nevada.

Sanders’ recent polling surge has stoked fear in the the Democratic Party’s establishment, which has long opposed the socialist senator, who refuses to even join the party, having maintained his status as an Independent throughout his three decades in Congress. The party’s 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton recently attacked Sanders, saying that “nobody likes him,” but later committed to backing him if he became the Democratic nominee. Former President Barack Obama is also reportedly considering making a statement opposing Sanders’ candidacy. The panic inside the Democratic Party bears a striking resemblance to what we saw from within the Republican Party in January 2016, when insurgent candidate Donald Trump appeared to be barrelling towards the party’s nomination. (RELATED: ‘F**king Revolution’: Another Bernie Sanders Staffer Appears To Endorse Gulags)

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (L) speaks directly to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as they discuss issues during the Democratic presidential candidates debate sponsored by MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo FROM THE FILES PACKAGE "THE CANDIDATES" - SEARCH CANDIDATES FILES FOR ALL 90 IMAGES - S1AEULPBJRAB

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (L) speaks directly to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the Democratic presidential candidates debate at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, New Hampshire, February 4, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

While the initial Democratic primary field had over two dozen candidates, the field has dwindled quickly, and could soon come down to two candidates. Both Warren and Buttigieg appear to be fading fast, and neither will have a path forward unless they can pull off a come-from-behind win in Iowa or New Hampshire. This means that the race is likely to come down to Sanders and Biden, two men in their late 70’s, who nonetheless could not be more different. Biden is a loyal Democrat, who has tended to follow the whims of his party throughout his near half-century of public service. Sanders, meanwhile, is a direct threat to the desires of the Democratic establishment, and his nomination could permanently brand the Democrats as a socialist party. (RELATED: REPORT: Bernie Sanders Was Investigated By FBI For Marxist Ties)

This may sound appealing to President Donald Trump and Republicans, who always salivate at the opportunity to brand their political opponents as socialists, but defeating a Bernie Sanders-led Democratic Party would be no walk in the park for Republicans in November. Sure, a heated primary battle between Biden and Sanders would be divisive for the Democrats, which would temporarily benefit  Trump. Sanders may also be easier for the president to defeat than Biden, who has typically led Trump in swing state polls. And Trump would even enter a general election match-up against Sanders as a slight favorite, but Republicans who believe it would be easy are being dangerously foolish.

While most Americans don’t like to call themselves socialists, Sanders’ economic policies still have broad appeal. Policy proposals such as universal healthcare, paid family leave, and caps on credit card interest rates are popular, even among self-identified conservatives. The president himself has demonstrated prescient political instincts in embracing economic populism. Trump has embraced paid family leave, and been a staunch critic of past U.S. trade deals, and his administration recently secured a major victory on that front with the passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which reformed NAFTA. However, Sanders is the rare candidate that can outflank the president on these issues, and the rare candidate that would be able to paint Trump as the status-quo candidate, which would be a complete role reversal from 2016.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) addresses the crowd during King Day at the Dome March and Rally on January 20, 2020 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

It’s also possible that Sanders will cave to the “woke” crowd like he has done so many times throughout this primary cycle. Instead of focusing his general election campaign on economic populism, Sanders may very well decide to pontificate about transgender bathrooms, open borders, and third trimester abortions, a strategy which would indeed all but guarantee a Trump re-election. If Sanders does run on his economic platform, Republicans’ current strategy of screaming “socialism,” and hand-wringing about cost-efficiency will not be enough. Republicans must do better than that to avoid a President Sanders.

Beyond this election cycle, a Sanders presidency would allow Bernie to re-make the party in his image, and become a Ronald Reagan-like figure on the left. While the Democratic establishment doesn’t like Sanders, they dislike Trump more, and the vast majority of the party will hold their nose this Fall if Sanders does win the nomination. Make no mistake, the Democratic establishment will get behind Sanders if he is the party’s nominee, seeing an opportunity to influence his presidency the way the Republican establishment has influenced Trump. (RELATED: Bernie Sanders’ Campaign Raises $18.2 Million In The First Quarter)

It’s not a probability that Sanders will become America’s 46th president, but it is certainly a possibility. A week away from the first Democratic primary, Bernie Sanders is now the front-runner for the party’s presidential nomination.