Republicans like their chances of keeping the Senate in 2020. But there’s one thing they think would all but seal the deal: Bernie Sanders as the Democratic presidential nominee.
Some GOP incumbents are practically cheering him on, confident there’s no way a self-described democratic socialist could win a general election against President Donald Trump and that he’d drag other Democrats on the ballot with him.
“It would be good for us to have a nominee like that,” said Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who is up for reelection next year and sounded downright giddy about the prospect of Sanders representing Democrats at the top of the ticket.
Trump and the Senate GOP have explicitly designed their 2020 strategy around Sanders, beating the anti-socialism drum incessantly and attempting to tether every Democrat on the ballot to what they call a creep away from capitalism and toward collectivism.
And though he’s consistently trailing former Vice President Joe Biden at this early stage, some top Republicans said they sincerely believe Sanders has a legitimate shot at winning.
“A lot of people think that in that crowded field, he could break out,” said Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.).
He added: “If we can run a race against a person that’s an out-of-the-closet socialist and promoting socialist ideas, it’s a great contrast for us.”