Many Democratic politicians and voters rallied strongly behind Joe Biden both before and after Super Tuesday, aiming to halt what appeared to be Bernie Sanders’s momentum. Many did so because they feared Sanders is too ideologically extreme to beat Donald Trump in November. Were they right?In short, probably so. We’ve researched a century of U.S. presidential elections, and found that a moderate Democrat is more likely to beat Donald Trump in November.How we did our research We examined the Republican candidate’s share of the vote in the 25 presidential elections between 1920 and 2016. Past research has shown that prosperity and peace generally make it more likely that the incumbent party will win, so for each election, we accounted for both the economy and U.S. involvement in international conflict. We also adjusted for public appetite for change, which can happen when one party holds the presidency for more than two consecutive terms. Finally, we examined where each party’s candidates stood on a “left-right” (liberal-conservative) scale in successive presidential elections.We measured parties’ ideological positions by analyzing the policies promised in their election platforms, using a “Manifestos” database that codes these policies on quantitative scales for each party for each of the


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