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The Lid: Sanders’ Socialism Now at Center of 2016 Race

Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos…Welcome to The Lid, your afternoon dose of the 2016 ethos...Rand Paul compared Donald Trump to “Gollum” from the Lord of the Rings, which is surprising because we had no idea the fictional villain talked so much about how well he is polling in Middle Earth.

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‘16 from 30,000

Here comes the “S’ word. With Bernie Sanders’ rise, both sides are now using part of the label that Bernie Sanders has long used for himself: “socialist.” Clinton surrogate Claire McCaskill told NBC’s Kasie Hunt that it would “be absolutely impossible for a self-declared socialist to win states like Missouri.” And that came after a lengthy New York Times piece quoting Democrats (but not the Clinton campaign itself) lamenting Sanders’ embrace of the term. And Donald Trump again called him a “communist-slash-socialist” at a rally today.

Could it backfire in the Democratic primary, considering the amount of goodwill Sanders has built up with his progressive base? Maybe, but here’s one number to show you why this general-election oriented attack could be effective. In October of last year, our NBC/WSJ poll showed that *70 percent* of registered voters said they would be uncomfortable with a socialist in the White House, versus just 27 percent who said they would be comfortable or enthusiastic about the idea. While core Democrats were evenly split on the issue (48% comfortable/ 48% uncomfortable), the notion is pretty much dead-on-arrival with independents (net -34% uncomfortable), suburban voters (net -46% uncomfortable) and voters in a union household (net -42% uncomfortable).

POPPING ON NBC POLITICS

  • Sarah Palin linked her son’s arrest on domestic violence charges to PTSD and to the president’s stance on veterans.
  • Bernie Sander’s is now officially part of Donald Trump's stump speech. And not in a flattering way, NBC’s Leigh Ann Caldwell writes.
  • Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio have spent a whopping $91 million in ads, compared to Trump and Cruz’s $8 million. NBC’s Mark Murray breaks down the numbers.
  • Ben Carson will resume his campaign Thursday following a volunteer’s death in a car accident, NBC’s Shaq Brewster reports.
  • In today’s Tales from the Trail: Bill Clinton takes a walk down memory lane and NBC’s Vaughn Hillyard writes about those who are knocking on New Hampshire’s door.
  • Sen. Claire McCaskill told NBC’s Kasie Hunt that it’s “absolutely impossible” for Sanders to win swing states like Missouri and Ohio.
  • Marco Rubio said that the Americans missing in Iraq were taken hostage by forced with ties to Iran, NBC’s Alex Jaffe writes.

FOR THE RECORD…

“He was Paleo before Paleo was a thing.”

- Bernie Sanders’ stepdaughter Carina Driscoll in a People Magazine profile of the senator.

TOMORROW’S SKED

Hillary Clinton, Ben Carson, and Mike Huckabee campaign in Iowa.

Donald Trump is in Las Vegas for two event, and Bill Clinton holds an organizing event there.

Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley all are in New Hampshire.