As socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) gets closer to clinching the Democratic presidential nomination, many Republicans seem to feel that President Donald Trump would have no trouble defeating a candidate with such radical views. GOP Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) warned that Sanders should not be underestimated, according to CBS News.
According to Scott, Sanders represents the biggest potential threat to President Trump in November, for some of the same reasons Trump was so effective in 2016.
"Bernie Sanders brings that outside game in a similar fashion that President Trump did in 2016," Scott said. "Think about the similarities. In 2016, Republican leadership, Republican wisdom said that there is no way in the world out of the 17 candidates, Donald Trump will be the president. I think it's very similar."
Scott also said that Sanders, unlike 2016, appears to be making an impact with black and Hispanic voters — and his single-payer health care proposal could be the cause.
"Bernie Sanders is doing something in 2020 that he could not do in 2016, which is getting African Americans and Hispanic voters to take a second look at his campaign," Scott said. "I think perhaps a primary reason is health care. If you look at what stands out the most in his campaign is he is undeniably a socialist, but he is strong and clear and competent on the issues he supports and the issue of health care is a big issue in the African-American community and I think it is the issue for why he ended up with 51% of the Hispanic vote in Nevada."
If Sanders is able to earn enough of the black vote in the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29, he could effectively end the nomination hopes of former Vice President Joe Biden, who after struggling in Iowa and New Hampshire had assured supporters that he would regain momentum in more racially diverse contests.
A Sunday CBS News poll shows Biden leading the way in South Carolina at 28%, followed by Sanders at 23% and Tom Steyer, who has invested significant resources into the state, at 18%.
Biden still holds a lead with black voters in South Carolina at 35%, with Steyer at 24% and Sanders at 23%. However, in November, Biden was the first choice for 54% of black voters compared to only 17% for Sanders and 2% for Steyer.
In 2016, Sanders lost the black vote in South Carolina to Hillary Clinton by a staggering 86% to 14% margin. Black voters made up 61% of the total Democratic primary votes that year. Biden has led among black voters throughout the primary, but his lead has dwindled in recent weeks.