On Thursday in a group chat on his website, Fivethirtyeight.com, Nate Silver said that he believed Bernie Sanders was the front runner for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and would play a large influence over who jumps into the race and what positions candidates would stake out. Nate Silver is known best for his election predictions. In 2008 his poll aggregation algorithm correctly predicted 49/50 states in the presidential election. In 2012 he went 50/50. In the last election cycle, he gave Trump the highest chance of winning of any of the major poll aggregators. Silver clearly knows what he is talking about, and always uses data to come to conclusions. In light of this, his statement that Senator B Sanders is the front runner for the Democratic party is something to take very seriously.
In the beginning of the group chat, Harry Enten argues that Sanders may not be the front runner. Silver disputes that, saying, “Sanders is really well liked among Democrats. He was second last time. He’s leading in the polls now. Isn’t it obvious that he’s the front-runner?” Later Silver says, “My position is that Sanders is the front-runner for 2020.” He goes on to say that while Sanders is the front runner, he does not believe he is favored over the field.
Everyone in the FiveThirtyEight chat agreed that Sanders will play a large role in determining the positions of opposing candidates. Perry Bacon, a writer for the site, said, I think that by 2020, many Dems will be closer on ideology to Sanders than Clinton was. “I think you will see more Democratic presidential candidates pushing for single-payer healthcare, taking on the wealthy and big banks, etc.” Harry Enten quipped, “I think he has a few clear messages and each can work. There’s the left-wing message. That works. There’s the change message that works with younger voters.” Based on this analysis, Sanders is both the front runner, and will determine the direction of the party as it moves to the left.