If you’d told most Americans a year ago that Bernie Sanders would be a serious threat to Hillary Clinton in January 2016, they probably would have laughed. (Or asked who Sanders was.) If you’d told them that Sanders would be arguing that he was a better candidate than Clinton because he was more electable, the reaction would have been even more incredulous. She was cautious, sure, and a bit more conservative than some Democrats, but surely she was more palatable to voters than an acerbic democratic socialist from Vermont.
That is, however, exactly the state of the Democratic race on January 11. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released over the weekend tells the story. In Iowa, Clinton leads Sanders among likely voters by just three points. In New Hampshire, where he has mostly kept a small lead for months, he’s up four. The Sanders campaign blasted out the results to reporters Sunday under the subject line “Electability Matters.” Speaking on This Week, Sanders said: “If people are concerned about electability—and Democrats should be very concerned because we certainly don’t want to see some right-wing extremist in the White House—Bernie Sanders is the candidate.”