According to a new Emerson College poll released Monday, when asked whom they would support from a list of 20 candidates, 29% named Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and 24% named former Vice President Joe Biden.
With the Democratic presidential primaries looming only a year away, it would appear the self-described “Democratic Socialist” is leading the race of 18 candidates.
There is plenty of time for another candidate to shine or break the lead held by Sanders, as President Donald Trump did during the 2016 Republican primaries, but for the time being it appears the president isn’t too fond of having the Vermont Senator lead the polls.
Especially after what happened Monday night during a town hall for Sanders.
Sanders held a town hall from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which sits in one of the counties that suffered from de-industrialization, voted for Barack Obama in 2012 and then went for Trump in 2016.
The event was hosted by Fox News with host Bret Baier asking audience members how many had private health insurance, to which a large majority raised their hands.
He followed up by asking how many would like to see Medicare for All enacted. Almost all of the same hands flew up, accompanied by cheers.
Polls have consistently found that more than half of Americans say they support Sanders’ signature initiative, including a good portion of Republicans.
According to a study on employer health insurance markets from the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Peterson Center on Healthcare, households with incomes at 200% of poverty (slightly more than $50,000 a year for a family of four) are spending on average 14% of their income on premiums, deductibles and medical bills.
The question of how this drove the president to go on a tirade of tweets against Sanders is quite simple: a democratic presidential nominee not only appeared on his favorite network, he also received positive publicity and a cheering crowd.
To get an idea of how well Sanders got into Trump’s head, the president’s Twitter feed shows that 24 hours after the town hall, Sanders was still being mentioned on Tuesday.
The president later claimed there had been Trump fans waiting outside of the studio before baselessly claiming the city was thriving because of him.
Another equally false tweet: “Big complaints about not being let in-stuffed with Bernie supporters. What’s with @FoxNews?”
In a statement to The Hill, a Fox News spokesperson stated that the Sanders town hall “was a ticketed event and featured a diverse audience.”
To date, no other Democratic presidential primary contender has gotten under Trump’s skin the way Sanders did on Monday night. Even if Sanders does not continue to lead in the Democratic primary, at least he knows how to hit Trump where it hurts most.