Self-described socialist Bernie Sanders remains a strong contender for the Democratic nomination, and the evidence suggests that his popularity is rising within the party.
However, not everyone in the party is a fan, something that became evident on a Thursday’s episode of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
“What do you make of Bernie Sanders leaping nearly double in the space of a month?” co-host Willie Geist asked former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.
Geist was referring to new data showing Sanders is now experiencing an upswing in support, with a poll putting him at the head of the pack in New Hampshire.
“He’s beginning to consolidate the Left in his party,” Messina replied. “He has a relationship with these voters, he’s been campaigning with these voters for now six years, he knows New Hampshire voters really well, and people are beginning to come to him.”
“Morning Joe” contributor Mike Barnicle noted how the Vermont senator’s consistent left-wing policies had helped him to build a solid core of support. However, Messina felt that record could ultimately be to Sanders’ detriment.
“But in the general election, it’s a message that I think is going to get him killed. I think he’s the worst candidate in a general election for exactly that reason,” Messina explained.
“You think Bernie is the worst candidate?” asked Geist.
“I don’t think there’s a question about it,” Messina went on. “I think it’s very clear to me that these swing voters, that I care about, the Trump-Obama voters in Midwestern states, Bernie Sanders is not the candidate we need to beat Donald Trump in November.”
Conflict with Hillary Clinton
Sanders has faced resistance from the mainstream media and the Democrat establishment even though his poll numbers continue to rise. Messina isn’t the only one to criticize Sanders lately: Former secretary of state and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had some harsh for him.
In an excerpt from a new documentary, Clinton described Sanders as an unlikable “career politician” who has accomplished little on Capitol Hill, adding she felt “so bad that people got sucked into” supporting him.
Trump himself has picked up on the trend, tweeting on Thursday, “Crazy Bernie takes the lead in the Democrat Primaries, but it is looking more and more like the Dems will never allow him to win! Will Sleepy Joe be able to stumble across the finish line?”