It appears more likely than ever real estate magnate Donald Trump has secured the White House in the 2016 presidential election. That means some Democrats are looking back on their party’s primaries with a certain nostalgia, pondering the thought of whether Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would have been able to trump the Republican nominee in the general election, had he defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton earlier this year.
Sanders would have bested the business billionaire in a landslide, while Clinton was projected to lose to Trump by at least two percent, according to polls conducted in May. Sanders also won in a major upset against his opponent in Michigan and Wisconsin – two states Clinton may have lost to Trump Tuesday, according to incoming polls on Election night.
Whether Sanders or Clinton could defeat Trump in the general election quickly became one of the most contentious talking points of the Democratic primaries, with the Vermont senator repeatedly warning voters of Clinton’s fledgling polls against the GOP contender.
“Right now, in every major poll, national poll and statewide poll done the last month, six weeks, we are defeating Trump,” Sanders said in an interview on NBC News May 29. “Often by big numbers, and always at a larger margin than Secretary Clinton is.”
Sanders conceded to Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in a symbolic move which effectively nominated the former secretary of state as the first female candidate of a major party in American history. The two career-politicians worked together to create a policy agenda that reflected nearly 80 percent of Sanders’ campaign platforms.
It isn’t clear whether Sanders would have effectively eliminated a Trump presidency in a general election. Clinton was polling with a significant edge up until Election Day, maintaining a four-point-lead in national polls. As the nation moves forward with a new White House administration, only one thing is clear: pollsters, analysts and reputable experts will be reviewing exactly how just about everyone predicted this outcome so erroneously.