With the Democratic presidential nomination slipping away from him, Sen. Bernard Sanders on Wednesday told supporters to donate to his campaign because he can beat Republican Donald Trump in November — and he hinted that Hillary Clinton cannot.
In a fundraising email, Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver cited polling data that shows Mr. Sanders beating Mr. Trump, the GOP’s White House front-runner, by a significant margin.
The email specifically cited a Huffington Post poll average that shows Mr. Sanders beating Mr. Trump by 10 percentage points, while Mrs. Clinton beats Mr. Trump by just four percentage points.
A Real Clear Politics average of all polls also shows Mr. Sanders defeating Mr. Trump handily — 47.5 percent to 41.5 percent.
While almost all polls show Mrs. Clinton would beat Mr. Trump in an election match-up, the Sanders campaign is now warning Democrats that the former secretary of state may not have what it takes to win in November.
“The truth is, it’s going to take more than establishment politics and establishment thinking to beat Donald Trump,” Mr. Weaver said in the email, repeating the “establishment” line that the Sanders campaign often has used in attacking Mrs. Clinton.
“But together, we are building something unprecedented,” Mr. Weaver continued. “That is why we’re doing so well in the polls, and why we’ve seen grass-roots enthusiasm unmatched by any candidate on either side of this primary. Only Trump comes close. And that is why what we are building is what will be required to defeat him.”
The fundraising pitch went on to ask supporters to give $3 to the Sanders campaign.