Tamara Keith and Amy Walter on Sanders’ Nevada victory | PBS NewsHour

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Amy Walter:

So, right now, this race is a referendum on Donald Trump. Most voters are not keyed into the Democratic primaries, even though we are obviously spending a lot of time there.

But how people feel about Donald Trump is how they say they are voting at this moment in time. You like Donald Trump, you are going to vote for him. You don’t like Donald Trump, you are going to vote for a Democrat or say that you are undecided. Right?

They don’t have a sense yet of who these Democrats are. Eventually, they will. And if you are Democrats, you want the race against Donald Trump to look a lot like the race in 2018 — 2018 did in the midterm elections. Make it a referendum on Donald Trump and his policies, on what the administration has done or not done on health care, on the tax cuts.

Those were very effective for Democrats. If, however, it becomes a choice between Donald Trump and fill in the blank candidate, it becomes much more challenging for somebody like Bernie Sanders, who has positions on issues that we know are unpopular.

The Cook Report and the Kaiser Foundation went into a lot of those states that you mentioned, those Midwestern states, and we asked the question, how do voters feel about things like a ban on fracking, which Bernie Sanders supports, Medicare for all including no private insurance?

Of swing voters in those states, those are very unpopular positions. So we know what that looks like. Candidates on the ballot in the districts who ran in 2018, they are now members of Congress, Democrats, are not aligning with Bernie Sanders either, because they know, the voters in their districts, they spent all of 2018 watching Republicans trying to tie them unsuccessfully to socialism and Medicare for all.

With Bernie Sanders, it is a lot easier to tie them.

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