Sanders is closer to the nomination than any other Democrat in the race, having now won both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary. But MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews believes that if the Democrats go ahead and nominate him for president, it won't be pretty.
"They're just pandering to the Bernie people and you know what pandering gets you? Nothing," Matthews said Tuesday night. "They've got to get out there and say, ‘I disagree with socialism. I believe in the markets. I think he's wrong. I think he'll never get it done and this country will never go that direction and by the way we'll lose 49 states.'"
MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Bernie Sanders: "I think this country will never go that direction, and by the way we'll lose 49 states." pic.twitter.com/8DXudfXh6s— America Rising (@AmericaRising) February 18, 2020
"Nobody just says the obvious: ‘Bernie, you're full of it," Matthews continued. "None of this going to get passed. You're going to be a miserable president, frustrated from the first day because you're not going to get Medicare for All. You're not going to get free college tuition for public universities. You're not going to get payoffs of all student loans. None of this is going to happen and you're just going to just sit there and stew in it.' So why don't they bring that up? I do not understand why they don't bring that up."
There's some precedence for Matthews's emergency appeal. In 1972, Democrats nominated far left candidate George McGovern for president. He lost all but one state to Republican Richard Nixon.
Some of the more moderate voters I met in New Hampshire last week shared these same concerns. Here's just a taste of what folks at the Pete Buttigieg rally said about Sanders's socialist agenda.
"Yeah, he's pretty extreme," said Jared.
"If we're going to beat Trump, it needs to be a moderate," his friend Matthew, from Hollis, NH, added. "And that's Pete."
"I love Pete's values, his rules of the road, his substantive policies that are something most people can agree on," said Carolyn, from Bedford, MA. "I don't like Bernie's policies."
"I think he's almost as progressive as everyone else that's far left, but with a reasonable pragmatic, fiscally responsible approach," she continued.
"Bernie is flat. It's hard for him to gain more people beyond his typical base. And Pete is more of a unifying factor. Bernie is always going to be classic Bernie. But Pete can bring in progressives, moderates, and what we like to call future former Republicans."
They all agreed that a more moderate candidate like Buttigieg or Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will attract more voters and have a better chance of stopping Trump's re-election.
I have some more bad news for them: Sanders appears to be surging in new polls.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has 31% support nationally, up 9 points since December, the last time the poll asked about Democratic voters' preferences. His second-place rival is Michael Bloomberg, who will be on the debate stage for the first time Wednesday. https://t.co/zu6tQQrkrs— NPR (@NPR) February 18, 2020
Sanders will join five of his opponents, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Michael Bloomberg, on the debate stage tonight in Las Vegas, a few days before Saturday's Nevada Caucus.