John Kasich Mocks Bernie Sanders During The Republican Debate & Bernie Bites Back

During Thursday night's Republican primary debate, one Democratic contender got a lot of mentions ― Hillary Clinton, despite a recent surge in the polls by liberal Vermont senator Bernie Sanders. But when Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo asked about Sanders during the debate, and what it says that a self-avowed socialist is gaining so much traction, one Republican governor hit back: John Kasich jabbed Bernie Sanders during the Republican debate, and claimed that he'd lose all 50 states if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

On its face, it's a pretty farcical claim ― Vermont isn't going to vote for Bernie Sanders? California? New York? Liberal havens all across the country would be chomping at the bit to cast votes for Sanders. But let's put that aside for a moment, because it's clearly not the point. The point is that Kasich clearly thinks Sanders has no shot, probably on the basis of his self-professed left-wing Democratic socialism.

For the record, Kasich himself is currently polling at less than 3 percent nationally, while recent polls show Sanders holding legitimate leads over Clinton in both Iowa and New Hampshire. Here's what he said:

If that's the case, we're gonna win every state if Bernie Sanders is the nominee, that's not even an issue. I know Bernie Sanders, and he is not going to be president.

In reality, the polls being what they are now, it's not even clear whether Sanders or Clinton would prove to be the more formidable general election candidate. Certainly, the anti-establishment vigor seen in both parties' primaries (in the forms of Donald Trump and Ben Carson on the GOP side, and Sanders himself for the Democrats) suggests that a candidate like Sanders might never have a better shot than he does right now. According to Real Clear Politics' polling averages, a hypothetical Sanders versus Trump match-up would make for a tight race, with Sanders holding about a two-point edge.

And make no mistake, Sanders and his campaign know the numbers. After Kasich's crack, his Twitter account responded with the above tweet, as straightforward as is it devastating. For all the GOP might believe Sanders to be too liberal, too radical, too socialist for the United States electorate, the numbers suggest that they'd be woefully wrong to expect a second George McGovern. It remains to be seen whether it'll be put to the test, though ― if you're curious, you can see Sanders and Clinton go toe-to-toe in Sunday night's Democratic debate.