CNN panelists Jake Tapper, John Avlon, Van Jones, and S.E. Cupp discuss whether Sen. Bernie Sanders is currently the frontrunner among declared Democratic candidates for president.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN: John, I think that it's fair to say, Senator Bernie Sanders, when it comes to polls, among the declared candidates, declared, when it comes to polls. When it comes to fundraising. To the number of contributors. When it comes to the dollar amounts, the average contribution is so small. Without question, I think Bernie Sanders is the frontrunner, don't you think? Among declared candidates.
JOHN AVLON, CNN: That's the caveat you're making. Among declared candidates, you've got to say that's true for Bernie, but he benefits from a very broad field. Once you get Biden in that, then all of a sudden the top tier, Biden best Sanders in most polls.
I think Bernie has a very intense, devoted cadre. He's shaped the direction of a party, and in a very wide primary, could his 20, 25% of hardcore supporters be enough? Maybe. But the second Biden gets in the race, that statement is no longer operative. I think we know what this is about. These are brushback pitches against Biden. Can he handle a leftward drifting party? Not his first rodeo. Assuming he can, that statement is no longer operative.
JAKE TAPPER: We should point out that there's a lot of talk online now, especially among Sanders supporters about the column by "The Washington Post" Dana Milbank who writes that Bernie is the Trump of the Democratic Party: "Fundraising and polls show many Democrats think the best answer to an angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flare for demagoguery is, well, another angry old white guy with crazy hair, New York accent and flare for demagoguery. It's not difficult to picture a scenario where Bernie captures the Democratic presidential nomination with the same formula that worked for Trump with Republicans in 2016."
Forgetting the hair and the New York accent and all that stuff, it is easy to look at the race and say, lots of candidates, a guy with a very strong following in 30% of the voters, like Trump did in 2016, that Bernie could do that in 2020. Win the nomination.
VAN JONES: People underestimated Bernie Sanders the entire time he was running against Hillary Clinton last time. The guy got 47% of the vote against the entire Clinton/Obama machine in a year that Hillary Clinton should have had a romp. And he never stopped running for president. He just changed it to Medicare For All. I've been with Bernie, you know, in states and places where he's getting two, three, four, five thousand people to come out to hear him give the speech they've heard a million times. Nine months ago, 12 months ago, 16 months ago. He never stopped running for president. He has the biggest social media operation. He's got a bigger social media operation than some who do it professionally. So I'm just saying, people continued to underestimate the insurgency in our own party.
S.E. CUPP: That's like the only thing they have in common. Can I just say?