Bernie Sanders’ big win in New Hampshire was no surprise to Hillary Clinton. Polls had shown Bernie had a huge lead. While in some ways it is devastating news for her campaign, the race is far from over, and she doesn’t seem that discouraged. For her supporters, however, this news is a big blow. It gives Bernie supporters even more ammunition for the Facebook and Twitter wars, which have effectively split the Democrat party right at its grassroots. Hillary supporters are hard pressed to defend their candidate as it is.
Bernie Sanders supporters are different than previous Democrat candidate supporters, even though they are essentially the same people. This race, and perhaps the past eight years, have changed them. In the past, it has been uncommon for Democrats to openly and viciously attack other Democrats on social media, but this primary season has been the exception. Attacks are flying on both sides, not from the candidates but from supporters. The New Hampshire win for Bernie has Hillary supporters saving their breath until a better time. From the beginning, though, Hillary supporters could not understand why Bernie Supporters were so defiant about Hillary.
Many Bernie Sanders supporters say they will not vote for Mrs, Clinton even if they have to stay home on election day. That’s something most of these people have never done in their lives. While Hillary may dominate the mainstream because of media support, many of the self-proclaimed political experts on Facebook favor Bernie.
Both Bernie Sanders supporters and Hillary supporters fight on Facebook using links to news articles. It often gets personal in the comments section, as many Bernie supporters say they will not vote for Hillary. That’s something most of these people have never done, at least not since they turned 18. The Huffington Post reports that 14 percent of Democrats will not vote for Hillary. The Washington Times reports polls showing Bernie supporters won’t back Hillary.
“Some of those voters tell pollsters they doubt they could support Hillary Clinton, Mr. Sanders’ chief competition for the party’s nod, saying she’s part of the very establishment the maverick Vermont senator is fighting against. Other Democrats say Mrs. Clinton would only earn their grudging support, leaving the party fearful of a catastrophic split.”
A Bernie Sanders supporter boycott and subsequent low voter turnout would kill any chance the Democrats have of toppling Donald Trump in the general election. Assuming Trump gets the Republican nomination, Donald Trump would easily win against Clinton between the stay-at-home pact of Bernie supporters and the unpopularity of Hillary among bible belt republicans.
Bernie Sanders’ win in New Hampshire may, in part, be attributed to to his supporter’s arsenal, which already includes the Goldman Sachs speeches Hillary was paid $675,000 for, as Politico reports. The more mainstream discussion of Hillary’s email is not a favorite fodder for armchair experts, but anything that connects Hillary to big corporate money is fair game. Clinton’s involvement in and complicity with the Iraq war is also a hot button issue. According to ABC News, Hillary as a continuation of Obama’s platform is a major downside as well, according to New Hampshire exit polls.
While the New Hampshire Primary is often an indicator of the overall primary outcome, it certainly isn’t in all cases. Hillary won the New Hampshire primary against Obama in 2008, yet lost the election due to overwhelming minority support, as Politico points out. This election season too may be up to minority voters. As campaigners move on to South Carolina, they are reminded that the Democrat party is now 44 percent non-white. As the minority vote grows, New Hampshire and Iowa will become less predictable than in the past.
While the Bernie Sanders platform could speak to the needs of poor and working class minorities more than Hillary’s, Clinton’s association with Obama would play to her advantage. Sanders’ labor associations might help him as well in poorer states. Poverty is a key issue for Bernie Sanders, an issue that weighed heavily even in the New Hampshire primary.
Bernie Sanders has styled himself as a champion of the common people, and New Hampshire recognized it, but will South Carolina?
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