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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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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