I disagree with Mr. Scudder below. Bernie has “run up against” Republicans and defeated them 15 times and prevailed; wealthy, well-resourced Republicans backed by wealthy outside donors. And while he was at it, he also defeated Democratic Party candidates at the same time. Republicans in Vermont are conservatives, not wild-eyed millennial hippy brocialists. Those conservatives love Bernie as evidenced by his current 80% approval rating in the state, in which he earned the vote of 25% of Republicans in his latest landslide re-election to his Senate seat.
Furthermore, let the rethugs conduct their oppo research. Sanders simply doesn’t carry the kind of baggage his opponents do. It’s that simple. And socialist doesn’t scare anyone anymore. Bernie has a long record of supporting unions and has marched on many picket lines. It’s the union workers in rust belt states that took Trump over the top. Bernie did well in that region and he would have done even better in the general with a nomination under his belt and the ensuing national exposure.
The Clinton-friendly press (if you don’t believe that, you either haven’t read the Podesta’s emails or you’re in deep denial or perhaps both) worked to undermine the candidacy of both Sanders and Trump in precisely opposite ways. With Trump they gave him tons of free exposure and let him run his mouth, assuming that he’d sink himself, while with Bernie they denied him exposure altogether for at least six months, hoping that he’d go unnoticed. To that end, I happened to note that Meet the Press did not even mention at all that there was a second candidate in the Democratic primary race in it’s broadcast, the very week that Sanders announced that he was throwing in, even though NBC had reported it earlier in the week.
Later of course, we learned from the Wikileaks publications that MTP host Chuck Todd in fact hosted a private dinner party for the Clinton campaign team during that period on the downlow.
I believe that, as poll after poll after poll indicated over the course of more than a year, that Sanders would indeed have trounced the Donald — those very same polls that *accurately* indicated that Clinton would likely either barely defeat or barely lose to Trump, the latter being the case.