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Opinion: How Sanders plans to make Trump feel the Bern

Good morning. I'm Paul Thornton, The Times' letters editor, and it is Saturday, March 26, 2016. Here's a look back at the week in Opinion.


Sen. Bernie Sanders doesn't have a chance against Hillary Clinton — and when people say "chance," they mean it in the most literal sense of the word. The delegate math so favors Clinton that the Vermont senator would have to string together an unprecedented set of primary victories by wide margins, a statistically unlikely achievement.

But Sanders believes he's the best hope for Democrats to beat any Republican this November, including Donald Trump — and he's got the polling to back himself up. The senator sat down with The Times' editorial board this week to discuss his chances in the fall and a host of other issues, including how a Sanders administration would fight Islamic State, his campaign operation in California and the feasibility of implementing his social democratic economic agenda. Here's a transcript of the discussion; below is an excerpt:

Mariel Garza (editorial writer): Can I follow up to that real quickly? You mention the higher voter turnout. A lot of people have attributed that to Donald Trump. So I wanted to ask you something that is on the minds of a lot of concerned Democrats — and that is, how could you, how would you beat Donald Trump?

Sanders: OK. Well, let me give you two answers. My first comment is, you know, if there’s a high voter turnout in the Democratic caucus, that has nothing to do with Donald Trump. You’re right that Donald Trump has brought out a whole lot of people. Period. You’re right. But I’m just suggesting to you that in caucus after caucus after caucus, we have had, primary after primary — I believe yesterday, and the Arizona primary was so screwed up I don’t even know what the results of it are. By the way, an absolute disgrace. We’ve gotten communications from people who waited five hours to vote in Arizona. Five hours waiting in lines. So I don’t even know how many thousands of people didn’t vote. But my understanding is that we had very large turnouts just yesterday in three states in the Democratic caucuses.

Garza: Well, that could be defensive, could it not?

Sanders: No, no, I don’t think so. I think this is a vote that, you know, people want to participate in. A lot of those votes go to us, some go to Clinton. But to answer your second question — and this is one of the things that does bother me — uh, is that, you know, people want to vote for Hillary Clinton, that’s fine. But it is not fine when people say Hillary Clinton is the one who is going to beat Donald Trump. I would urge you, go to your website, look up virtually all of the current polls. Bernie Sanders versus Donald Trump. Just so happens, what do I have in front of me, by complete coincidence, a poll that took place just a few days ago [from] CNN. And this is just one of many. All the same thing.

Donald Trump — Clinton beats Trump, 53-41, 12 points. I beat him 58-38, 20 points. John Kasich beats Hillary Clinton, 51-45. She loses by 6; I beat him by 6. Ted Cruz is tied 48-48 with Clinton. I beat him by 13 points. And that is absolutely consistent with virtually every poll that’s out there. Why? Well, we obviously are going to get all the Democrats. But we get a lot of the independents that Trump will get if Clinton is in the race.

So one of the arguments that I have been making — I made it this morning, we had a press conference in San Diego — if Democrats want to defeat a Republican candidate, Trump or anybody else, I think the evidence is overwhelming: I am that candidate. And it’s not just polls. The truth is also Democrats will do well when the voter turnout is high, Republicans do well when the voter turnout is low. I don’t think anybody imagines that Hillary Clinton will be able to bring out more people than I can. We have the excitement. We have the energy. We have the non-traditional voters. So that is one of the arguments that I have been making.

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For fun (or whatever), pull up the transcript of Donald Trump's meeting with the Washington Post editorial board. Read it alongside the discussion Sanders had at The Times. Pundits often hold the two candidates up for comparison, but after reading the two transcripts, you might find yourself asking: Why? Washington Post

Trump nomination or none, this won't end well for the Republican Party. Jonah Goldberg writes that a GOP that shuns Trump at the party's convention in Cleveland is a doomed GOP — and so is one that puts him on the ticket. Goldberg's solution: "This ends in tears no matter what. Get over it and pick a side." L.A. Times

Is Trump rich enough to continue self-financing his campaign? Yes, but only for three more months, according to data scientist Dave Goodsmith. Trump's liquid assets are estimated to hover around $70 million. "Even a conservative model — one that allows Trump to spend barely a third as much as his primary competitors, on average — still shows Trump's liquid assets running out entirely by June 1," Goodsmith writes. L.A. Times

UC professors debate how administrators should handle anti-Zionism and anti-Semitism on campus. Judea Pearl, a computer scientist at UCLA, says the two -isms are indeed distinct and should not be conflated, but not because anti-Zionism is benign compared with anti-Semitism. On the other side, UCLA professor Saree Makdisi and UC Berkeley professor Judith Butler call the effort to stamp out anti-Zionism at the university a "thinly disguised attempt to suppress academic freedom and stifle open debate."

Baby boomers can find all kinds of advice on working with millennials, but where can twenty- and thirtysomethings turn for tips on working with their older colleagues? Millennial writer Ann Friedman gathers advice from working professionals age 33 or younger via Twitter (where else?) on sharing office space with their less technologically literate co-workers who were born before 1964. One tip: Do not say "this is so easy" before showing a boomer how to use a new digital tool. L.A. Times

Lucy Jones, California's iconic "Earthquake Lady," is retiring. She sat down for an interview with Patt Morrison. Among other parting thoughts, Jones said she wants to be around when the Big One hits: "Oh, I want to see the San Andreas earthquake. I mean, I don't want to do it to people, but given that it has to happen, I really hope I'm still alive when it comes along, because we're going to learn a lot about it. L.A. Times podcast and transcript.

I like to read feedback. If you have some, email paul.thornton@latimes.com.

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