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Bernie Sanders: Can he win Trump's voters?

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Walked onstage here Friday under a gray sky with occasional specks of snow and launched into a full-on attack against President Trump, marking him a "pathologic liar" in a state that was key to Trump's victory in 2016.

He repeated the epithet Saturday at a union hall in Michigan, another Trump state. Sanders said.

The blaster attacks on the president reflect Sanders's developing and arguably risky strategy for reaching out to Trump's voters – people the president has said would support him even if he shot someone. It's a sharp contrast with other Democratic candidates who are focused on mobilizing Trump opponents. Not incidentally, it's also a way to signal Democrats that Sanders is their best hope for knocking off Trump, at a time when many fear he is the opposite.

The most striking example of this strategy will play out Monday night when Sanders appears at a town hall meeting hosted by the Fox News Channel, an outlet many Democrats detest and one party blocked from hosting a debate.

Sanders's approach faces a significant test in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, all part of his current campaign swing, where many white, working-class voters were Sanders argues he can reclaim these voters by convincing them he can deliver the economic relief they were seeking all along.

But many Democrats across the country are not convinced, even though they increasingly fear the Sanders has a real shot at the nomination, given his solid support of support and the deeply fractured Democratic field, which has 18 candidates and counting.

Some worry that a national ticket led by seven-year-old democratic socialist, who wants to transform the government, will outnumber political center – not only helping help Trump win a second term but erasing recent gains by centrist Democratic lawmakers in suburban areas.

If Sanders "wins the nomination, Trump will be president again," said Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.). "I'll guarantee it."

Many of the Democratic gains in the 2018 election were made by the candidates who were not in Sanders' mold, including in the two of the states he visited in recent days.

In Wisconsin and Michigan Democrats nominated more traditional candidates for the governor and captured both seats from Republicans. Some Democrats say a similar model is the path to victory in 2020.

Framing Sanders as the face of the Democratic Party, as the Fox appearance could do, will help Trump rather than hurt him, they argue.

The divide Over Sanders reflects a dilemma at the heart of the Democratic primary: Should a party nominate a Democratic version of Trump who can match his combativeness, energizing the liberals and taking the fight with the president? Or should it embrace a consensus builder, one who can rise above the country's partisan grief and bring people together?

This question could take even more significance in the coming weeks with the expected former presidential candidate Joe Biden's candidacy. Biden's two-party approach would sharpen the contrast between the field's "unifiers" – Biden, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and former congressman Beto O'Rourke – and its more aggressive partisans like Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Democratic concerns about Sanders echo some of the attacks. Trump and his allies are deploying against the senator. The Republicans have signaled that they would love to run against him, saying they could paint his policies as extreme and link him to the Democrats up and down the ballot.

Trump komentārus par Sanders ir divpusēji, vienlaikus apvainojot viņu un veidojot viņu up Last year, Trump castigated the senator, whom he calls "Crazy Bernie," for opposing the skimpier health insurance policies backed by Trump, tweeting, "Crazy Bernie and his band of Congressional Demos will outlaw these plans. Disaster!

Then, as Sanders was entering the race earlier this year, Trump told reporters, "I like Bernie," stroking the complaints by Sanders loyalists that the Democratic Party mistreated him in 2016. "I think he was taken advantage of, "said Trump, at an Oval Office signing ceremony. "I thought what happened to Bernie Sanders four years ago was pretty sad."

Sanders' campaign manager, meanwhile, calls Trump a "faux Bernie Sanders" on trade, an area where both emphasize protecting American workers.

At his Michigan rally Saturday, Sanders got into Trump's reworked version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling it weak protection and urging the president to scrap it.

All this sets up an intriguing backdrop for Sanders's Fox appearance. Fox is Trump's favorite network, and he has a good relationship with some of its hosts. Sanders's appearance on Fox tell his viewers the president is a patologist who could provoke one of the president's outraged responses.

In his first two months as a candidate, Sanders has gotten off to a quick fundraising start, drawing large crowds and posting impressive Showings in early polls.

Still, Sanders's rallies of recent days have not attracted the same massive crowds as during his kickoff events in New York and Chicago earlier this year. The audiences have shown some signs of animosity towards current and former rivals; Mark Craig, 66, disparaged by Trump and Hillary Clinton with expletives as he cheered on Sanders during his speech in Saturday in Warren, Mich.

The next phase of his campaign, the officials said, will be focusing on activating a volunteer army of more than a million people and convincing voters that he is electable.

Campaign manager Faiz Shakir described this phase as "continuing to address what I think is one of the most critical issues in this race: Who is the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump? "He argues that Sanders is" uniquely positioned "to do so.

Sanders's supporters say voters are deeply frustrated and looking for a leader who will shake things up. They note that 11 percent of voters who picked up Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary went on to vote for Trump in the general election, according to the American National Election Studies survey. Another 8 percent voted for minor-party candidates, and Sanders's camp argues he has a shot with them as well.

Anita Cox, a 52-year-old teacher who attended the Sanders meeting in Indiana Saturday wearing a "Feel the Bern "The button, she said, knows Trump voters who she says Sanders could win over. "Maybe they believed their lies," Cox said.

At a Sanders appearance in Michigan, Christina Fong, who supported Sanders in 2016, said she knew some people who voted for Sanders and then Trump. Sanders can win them back, she said.

"Fool, a 54-year-old musician from Grand Rapids, said," Unfortunately, a lot of times people are really angry, and sometimes they displace that grief. " "So they remain angry, which he gets into," she added, speaking of Sanders.

But many Democratic leaders are watching Sanders with concern, believing that better bet for beating Trump is less hostile messenger with more moderate message . Nominating someone who neither personifies diversity nor connects with centrists is one of the few ways Democrats could lose in 2020, they argue.

"I do not think anyone is basically socialism. I really do not, "said Sen. Joe Manchin III (DW.Va.), who won the reelection last year in a state Trump captured decisively in 2016.

Sanders's unapologetic embrace of a Medicare-for-all health plan that would effectively eliminate private insurance also worries some party workers . Democrats won in 2018 by depicting GOP health plans as extreme, they say, and they have no desire to see the tables turned in 2020.

"I think when people find out that certain candidates want to take away people's sponsored by employers health Ian Russell, former deputy executive executive of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which coordinates party's House campaigns.

Sanders campaigned for Democrats in the Midwest several times in the run-up to the 2018 midterm, but most of his endorsed candidates were lost. Kansas Brent Welder and Iowa's Pete D'Alessandro, for example, were defeated in their House by primaries by more moderate Democrats who went on to win in November.

Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Who faces reelection in a ruby ​​red state, said his constituents want a consensus builder at the top of the ticket, "someone who can govern who can reach across not only across the corridor, but Within the various groups within the Democratic Party. "He declined to discuss whether Sanders qualifies.

In many ways, the current Democratic dynamics shows similarities with Republican landscapes in 2016, when Trump dominated: party unsure how to deal with a rowdy populist from outside its traditional ranks, a crowded field that plays to its advantage and unpredictable political climate.

Republicans, for their part, say they are eager to run against Sanders.

"Speaking for North Carolina If America had a choice between a self-avowed socialist democrat and a free market capitalist, he would lose, "Sen said. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is up for reelection. "Period, end of story."

Of course, Democrats said the same thing about Trump in 2016. And many in the party signaling that they recognize the political appeal of Sanders's positions.

When Sanders unveiled his Medicare- for-all bill Wednesday, he had 13 co-sponsors, including four of his presidential rivals. One of them, sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (DN.Y.), appeared at a news conference with Sanders

In another echo of the Trump 2016 phenomenon, Sanders's rivals, for now at least, are being careful what they say about him, wary of starting a

As she left the Capitol on Wednesday, Warren, who is also seeking a nomination, agreed that Sanders has gotten off to a quick start. But when asked why, she was demurred.

"I'm sorry, but I am late," she said as she walked briskly away. A few seconds later, she added, "He's doing great."

David Weigel and Scott Clement have contributed to this report.

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