Bernie Sanders Is the Most Popular Politician in America

That’s why this Republican ad is so bizarre.

Marla Brose/Albuquerque Journal via ZUMA

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One of the tightest House races in the country this year is in New York’s Hudson Valley, where Democrat Zephyr Teachout and Republican John Faso are vying to replace retiring GOP Rep. Chris Gibson. Faso, a former assemblyman and pipeline lobbyist, and Teachout, a fiercely anti-fracking Fordham law professor, are natural rivals. But it’s the flood of outside money that has defined the race. The latest effort: a new spot from the National Republican Congressional Committee, attacking Teachout as an ally of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:

As a narrator explains that Teachout is supported by “socialist senator” Bernie Sanders, the actress playing Teachout reads a book called Socialism for Beginners (shouldn’t an actual socialist already know what socialism is?). The ad has it all: a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker, a Bernie Sanders mouse pad, a photo of Sanders and Teachout together—even a pair of Birkenstocks.

There is one major flaw with this message, though: Bernie Sanders is super popular. As of this writing, he is the most popular politician in America. His favorable ratings are two points higher than those of President Barack Obama (who is currently enjoying his highest numbers in 45 months). They are 10 points higher than Hillary Clinton’s. They are 19 points higher than those of both Donald Trump and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

Those are just the national numbers. There is good reason to think that in New York’s 19th Congressional District, a slightly-Democratic-leaning area where the Vermont senator traveled to campaign with Teachout last month, Sanders is even more popular. Sanders won the district overwhelmingly in the April primary, with 58 percent of the vote—one of his best districts in the state.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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