If you consider yourself a Democrat, you likely pride your party on its knack for putting facts before fiction. You likely use science to debunk myths such as the one that denies the existential threat of climate change. You likely rely on empirical evidence to quell the claims that gun ownership actually makes a household safer.
If you apply that same line of thinking to the 2016 election -- that data and measurements trump assumptions and speculation -- it's plain to see that only one Democratic candidate can beat Donald Trump in a general election. That candidate is not Hillary Clinton, despite her and her supporters' assertions of the contrary. The most electable candidate, according to all of the available data, is Bernie Sanders.
In Fox News' recent poll, Clinton beats Trump by just five points, while Sanders wins in a 15-point landslide. Here, Sanders' margin of victory is literally twice as large as Clinton's, perhaps due to his high favorability and attraction among independents.
In Quinnipiac's latest poll, the hypothetical matchup between Clinton and Trump is even closer, with Clinton holding a mere one-point advantage over the Republican frontrunner. The race between Trump and Sanders, on the other hand, is not even a contest. Sanders dominates Trump by six points and goes on to take the White House.
The only poll that I've found that has Trump beating Sanders at all is USA Today/Suffolk's poll, which gives Trump a one-point advantage over Sanders. However, even this poll shows Clinton losing to Trump by twice the margin.
Okay, polls mean nothing; let's pretend for a minute that that's true. Even still, the qualitative measurements clearly put Sanders at a serious advantage. First Sanders, like Trump, has no affiliated super PAC, while Clinton, of course, does. Second, Sanders, like Trump, opposed the war in Iraq, while Clinton notoriously voted for it. Third, Sanders, like Trump, represents the anti-establishment populist movement, while Clinton epitomizes the democratic establishment and all that it represents.
To be completely fair, Sanders is by no means a perfect candidate. He would not only be the oldest president in US history, but also the first democratic socialist. He would also be one of the only non-Christians to occupy the presidency. Still, even if one were to consider these weaknesses, they in no way compare to Hillary Clinton's shortcomings, which include deep, inseverable connections to Wall Street, a vote for the worst foreign policy blunder in US history and an ongoing FBI investigation.
I'm not saying that Clinton cannot beat Trump in a general election. Most polls indicate that she can. The problem is, even the polls that show her ahead of Trump show her only slightly ahead. Why nominate a candidate who can barely beat the Republican frontrunner when Democrats can nominate one with much better odds?
* The author of this post is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund an entire series of animated rap videos about Bernie Sanders and the 2016 election.