Conservatives, don’t be fooled. Bernie can win.

Aides are paid to spin, but with Sanders, Democrats could have their cake and eat it, too. He could conceivably win working-class white votes in the Rust Belt (and with it, the Electoral College), partly because he largely downplays the identity politics culture wars, and partly because those same voters might be entirely open to the progressive economic policies espoused by Sanders.

What is more, Sanders benefits from having run in 2016. Not only does he possess a built-in fundraising and activist network, but he has inoculated us to his positions (single-payer healthcare, free college tuition, $15 minimum wage), making these once-radical economic policies seem comparatively moderate. They have become part of the Democratic mainstream, having been coopted by most of his 2020 rivals. Couple all that with his decidedly avuncular, authentic, and curmudgeonly appearance, and Sanders’ appeal to Middle America should not be dismissed.