With the June 7 primaries coming to a close and Clinton holding a pledged delegate lead, at the time of publication, talk is turning to a contested Democratic convention. Sanders and his supporters are still ready to fight for him, all the way to a contested convention, and many have pledged “Bernie or Bust” no matter what. Sanders himself said Tuesday night that he’s taking the fight to the D.C. primary and then all the way to the convention.
Neither candidate will be able to get the number of pledged delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination and the decision will, ultimately, come down to the superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention. But Sanders’ supporters who are firmly in the #BernieorBust camp have committed that even if Clinton were to ultimately get the nomination, they would not vote for her. Why?
Here’s what you need to know.
1. #BernieorBust Supporters Say They Are Tired of Being Dismissed by the Democratic Party and the Media
Sanders’ supporters have said they are tired of feeling like the Democratic Party is dismissing their concerns and their voice. For example, Sanders’ supporters had legitimate concerns over the way things were handled at the Nevada Democratic Convention. But instead of listening, the Nevada Democratic Party filed a complaint against his supporters and published a snarky press release that was very patronizing to Sanders and his voters. Time and time again, actions like that alienated Sanders’ supporters from the Democratic party. When the Party had a closed meeting to try to figure out how to handle his supporters during the Democratic National Convention, this angered them even more.
In addition, they’ve been angered at seeing how their candidate is covered in many mainstream media channels, especially on TV. The most recent example was when the Associated Press declared that Clinton had won the nomination on Monday night, ignoring and potentially discouraging all the voters from participating in the primaries on Tuesday. When MSNBC told Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, that multiple stations were planning to call the California election for Clinton hours before the polls closed, this also angered his supporters.
This type of things has been happening over and over, and many of his supporters are tired of watching it and have lost faith in the Democratic party.
2. Some Sanders Supporters Aren’t Buying the Idea of ‘Beating Republicans at Any Cost’
Hillary Clinton is leading in pledged delegates, and many of her allies and supporters believe that Sanders’ voters should switch their allegiance to Clinton and form a more unified party. One ally told The Hill: “At this late stage in the primary, he should stop trying to rile up his people and start to bring everyone together.” But Sanders’ supporters aren’t ready to give up and they’re ready to go all the way to the Convention.
One of the mantras that has worked in the past has been the idea of defeating the rival Republican party at any cost. (And the Republican party works the same way, pushing to defeat the Democrat candidates no matter which Republican is running.) As one Clinton supporter told The Hill: “He needs to set an example and start bringing his people over if he cares about defeating Trump in the general election.”
But many Sanders supporters have shared that they are tired of “politics as usual,” and aren’t buying into the idea that Republicans must be defeated no matter what. In fact, they believe that mindset is part of the reason why the status quo never changes. They aren’t going for the “Vote Blue No Matter Who” mantra. They will vote for Bernie or no one.
On Reddit, one supporter of Sanders wrote:
“If Donald Trump gets elected, so be it, let that be a lesson to both parties. They’ve been coasting for far too long on the idea of ‘AT LEAST WE’RE NOT THEM SO VOTE FOR US.’ Her entire campaign is going to boil down to that, and just that.”
A recent poll showed that 25 percent of Sanders supporters would not vote for Clinton. In a discussion about the poll on Reddit, one person who is planning to vote for Clinton wrote: “My openness to a Clinton vote is admittedly shaky. If Clinton extends a willingness to work with Sanders, and many of his policies are adopted, I’m willing to vote for her. But if he’s rejected then I will abandon the Democratic party. That’s where I’m at.”
Another voter wrote: “Hillary’s strategy for this entire primary has been to win at all costs. Her campaign has treated Bernie and his supporters like complete garbage. If they’re willing to alienate me during the primary, they don’t deserve my support in the general. I would’ve easily voted for her a year ago, but she completely changed my mind this primary… I refuse to set a precedent where a nominee can treat 46% of the party like garbage during a primary, but still get their support in the general.”
The majority of the #BernieorBust candidates won’t vote for anyone but Bernie and they believe it’s not theirs or Bernie’s job to win the presidency for Clinton.
3. Voting Issues Are Also Increasing Feelings of Disenfranchisement
Bernie Sanders supporters have been hitting roadblock after roadblock when it comes to voting for their favored candidate, leading to questions about fraud that are fueling the #BernieorBust movement. Lawsuits have been filed in Arizona and New York over primary voting issues, and complaints have been heard across the country. The problems are especially prevalent in closed primaries, where voters suddenly discover that their registration was mysteriously purged or their party affiliation changed. Questions about election fraud have been rampant, and this is leading #BernieorBust supporters to believe more fervently than ever that something needs to change.
There’s been no clear, definitive link between Clinton’s campaign and any of these issues. But some voters have spotted Clinton supporters participating in actions that have hurt their voice and their vote, and this has only made them feel more disenfranchised.
The latest problems were in Puerto Rico, just a couple days ago, which you can read about below:
4. Some #BernieorBust Supporters Will Only Vote for Sanders While Others Might Consider a non-Clinton Candidate
#BernieorBust supporters are choosing different ways to express their feelings of disenfranchisement and support for Sanders. Some will, truly, only vote for Bernie Sanders. They are hoping he will run as a third-party candidate if he doesn’t end up with the Democratic nomination. If he doesn’t, then they will write him in.
Others have said they would even consider voting for Donald Trump to make sure that the Democratic establishment truly understands what a mistake they made by disenfranchising Bernie’s supporters. In fact, one discussion on Reddit posited that if Clinton won, she’d be in the office for eight years while if Trump won, he’d only be in office for four years and then Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard could run next.
Here’s another Bernie supporter talking about Trump:
Still others are looking to support a third-party candidate, such as the Green Party or a Libertarian candidate, if Bernie didn’t get the nomination. Many are saying they will vote for Jill Stein if Bernie isn’t the nominee, although they would prefer that he lead the Green Party ticket and she might be his VP. They want to give third parties more of a say in politics so that Democrats and Republicans don’t hold all the cards in upcoming elections. For example, if a third-party candidate gets 15 percent in national polls, he or she might get a place on the general election debate stage. That could be huge. And if Sanders ran with a third party, he could get that percentage fairly easily.
5. #BernieorBust Supporters Are, Bottom Line, Still Supporting Bernie
Bottom line, #BernieorBust supporters have pledged to support Bernie Sanders no matter what. While they’re still waiting for the results of the California primary, they know that neither candidate will command the number of pledged delegates needed to guarantee the Democratic nomination. It will, ultimately, come down to superdelegates at the Democratic National Convention.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders are already planning a peaceful protest at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 24-25. Their plans are based on the idea that there will be a contested convention and they want to march on Philadelphia as the culmination of their hard work. You can read more about the event for July 24 here and the event for July 25 here.
Bernie Sanders has vowed to keep fighting, all the way to the Convention. And his #BernieorBust supporters are right there with him.