While an outsized chunk of the corporate media's early 2020 coverage has been centered on the speculation and big donor enthusiasm surrounding centrist Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke's possible White House bid, a new straw poll released on Tuesday found that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) is far and away the leading presidential choice among progressives eager to take down President Donald Trump and forge ahead with a bold agenda.
"If the senator runs (I hope he does), he will have the best organizing program of any 2020 candidate."
—Winnie Wong, People for Bernie
Conducted by Democracy for America (DFA)—a political action committee with over a million members—the survey found that Sanders topped the ever-growing list of potential Democratic candidates with 36 percent support, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden at 15 percent and O'Rourke at 12 percent.
All other possible candidates included in the straw poll, including Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), earned less than 10 percent support.
The Intercept's Ryan Grim argued that the DFA survey shows political elites may once again be underestimating Sanders, who consistently polls as the most popular politician in the country.
I think people in Washington are (again) underestimating the potential strength of a Sanders campaign (which could actually be part of his strength again) https://t.co/v6QFtn18Il
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) December 18, 2018
Though Sanders emerged from the early survey as the strong front-runner, DFA executive director and incoming chair Charles Chamberlain said in a statement, "Progressive support in the 2020 Democratic primary is up for grabs and so is Democracy for America's endorsement."
In the 2016 Democratic primary, the organization endorsed Sanders over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Unlike 2016, no candidate has support strong enough for the Democratic Party establishment to clear the field, which means progressives will have an excellent opportunity over the next year to kick the tires on a wide range of different candidates and find the best one to take on Trump," Chamberlain concluded.
Bernie Sanders can become the nominee but we will have to fight with all of our hearts. #TuesdayMotivation
— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) December 18, 2018
"If the senator runs (I hope he does), he will have the best organizing program of any 2020 candidate," declared Winnie Wong, founder of People for Bernie.