Former President Obama’s ex-campaign manager Jim Messina said Wednesday that Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: Milley apologizes for church photo-op Harris grapples with defund the police movement amid veep talk Biden courts younger voters — who have been a weakness MORE (I-Vt.) would not be able to beat President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE if the two were to face off in the 2020 general election.
Messina said during an episode of ABC News’s Powerhouse Politics podcast that Trump would be able to defeat Sanders by highlighting the economy to sway swing voters.
“I think if you look at swing voters in this country, they are incredibly focused on the economy,” Messina said. “I think today you look at it and say that Bernie Sanders is unlikely going to be able to stand up to the constant barrage that is Donald Trump on economic issues.”
Messina also said Sanders is well positioned to win the Democratic nomination.
“If nothing else, he will definitely be one of the final two or three candidates who has a shot at the nomination,” Messina said.
He added that he considers Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRand Paul introduces bill to end no-knock warrants The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook McEnany says Juneteenth is a very ‘meaningful’ day to Trump MORE (D-Calif.), former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHillicon Valley: Biden calls on Facebook to change political speech rules | Dems demand hearings after Georgia election chaos | Microsoft stops selling facial recognition tech to police Trump finalizing executive order calling on police to use ‘force with compassion’ The Hill’s Campaign Report: Biden campaign goes on offensive against Facebook MORE and former Rep. Beto O’RourkeBeto O’RourkeBiden will help close out Texas Democrats’ virtual convention: report O’Rourke on Texas reopening: ‘Dangerous, dumb and weak’ Parties gear up for battle over Texas state House MORE (D-Texas) to be the other leading contenders.
“I think we need to let this process play out,” Messina said. “We’re going to find out if Bernie Sanders can can move a message to both swing voters and his base. We’re going to find out if Joe Biden is battle tested. We’re going to figure out whether Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke and [South Bend, Ind.,] Mayor Pete [Buttigieg] have the magic we think they have.”
Along with Biden, Sanders has been at the top of the Democratic field in early 2020 polling. His campaign raised the most money among Democratic candidates in the first quarter of 2019.
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