After polls this month showed Sen. Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden tied for first place in the Democratic presidential primary in Texas, some Democrats and Biden backers are expressing concern about how a Sanders ticket would impact down-ballot races in Texas.
A Sanders ticket, they have argued, would alienate moderate and independent voters needed to oust Republicans from power and beat Trump in Texas.
Kolby Lee, a spokesperson for the Sanders campaign in Texas, pushed back on that notion in a statement.
“Texas isn’t a red state, it’s a non-voting state,” Lee said. “If we’re serious about flipping the state house and winning in battleground congressional districts, we need a nominee who will inspire grassroots enthusiasm and turn out voters on election day.”
“Bernie is building an unprecedented multi-generational, multi-racial movement in Texas that will expand the electorate and benefit candidates up and down the ballot,” he continued. “Recent Texas polls show Bernie outperforming every other Democratic candidate in a head-to-head with Donald Trump, and his policies－from guaranteeing healthcare to all people to tuition and debt-free public colleges－are deeply popular with voters.”
Interestingly enough, one recent analysis of early primary states from the New York Times found that Sanders was winning races not by expanding his electorate, but by broadening his appeal among traditional Democratic voters.
Likewise, other early state evidence shows Sanders is just as popular with conservatives and moderate Democrats as Biden:
In other words, it’s possible Sanders’ ability to bring in new voters may be overstated and his favorability with traditional Democrats may be understated– at least in the states that have voted so far.
Aggregate national polls show Sanders beating Trump by a 5 point margin, an identical margin to that of Biden. In Texas polls, both Biden and Sanders trail the president by similar margins.
Photo: Drew Angerer/ Getty Images
Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org