Three Undecided Voters Ponder Electability As They Weigh Their Democratic Primary Options

The voters who spoke with Texas Standard say they like Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, but worry that Sanders might be too progressive to beat Donald Trump.

By Rhonda FanningMarch 2, 2020 1:05 pm

What might cause a voter to wait until the last possible day to cast a ballot? One factor appears to be that some of those planning to vote in the Democratic primary still consider themselves “undecided.”

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke with three undecided voters  about why they’re still weighing their options, one day before Super Tuesday.

Rachel Anthony, 38, lives in Plano, and says since Pete Buttigieg and Tom Steyer have left the race, she might have an easier time making a decision.

“Now it seems like it’s just the top three, between [Elizabeth] Warren, [Joe] Biden and [Bernie] Sanders,” Anthony says.

John Hawthorne Smith, 33, lives in Austin, and says he was a Warren supporter at first, but now he’s unsure.

Rob Hughes of Richardson says he plans to vote for the person he believes has the best chance to beat Donald Trump in a general election. That thinking actually goes against his normal inclination to vote based on a candidate’s stance on policy. But he says defeating Trump is more important right now.

“I’m mostly at a point of, step one: get the [Trump administration] out, step two: figure out where to go from there,” Hughes says.

He says he could vote for Sanders in a general election, but is leaning toward Warren or Biden for the primary.

Anthony also says she’s wary of supporting Sanders in the primary, even though she likes him well enough as a candidate. That’s because she’s worried he could hurt down-ballot Democratic candidates in more conservative districts in the general election, if he becomes the nominee.

“It doesn’t matter if we have someone as progressive as Sanders in the White House if we can’t get control of the House or the Senate,” she says.

Smith pays attention to voting data, and says he’s noticed that Sanders has been successful so far in urban areas but not rural ones. To him, that means Sanders might have a hard time succeeding in Texas because of its many rural regions.

But some political pundits speculate that perhaps Sanders is the disruption the Democratic Party needs to actually beat Donald Trump.

Anthony doesn’t agree.

“If Sanders really wanted to change the status quo … he needs to be a Democrat,” she says. “Him being a Independent all these years … if you want to change the system, you need to change the system from within, and be a Democrat.”

Though Sanders has been successful in several of the primaries so far, Hughes sees Sanders’ supporters as a liability. He likens them to a left-wing version of the Tea Party, with what he considers their so-called ideological purity tests and their push for Sanders to promote an ever-more progressive agenda.

“I don’t see them as progressives so much as kind of a regressive left,” Hughes says. “It’s the same kind of speech that we heard from the Tea Party going back to 2009.”

Written by Caroline Covington.