In the event that Bernie Sanders does not get the Democratic nomination in the 2016 presidential race, the Democratic party has a huge problem on their hands. Many of Sanders’ supporters are making it clear that they are “Bernie or Bust,” meaning that if he doesn’t get the nomination, they still won’t vote for Hillary Clinton. This spells big trouble for the Clinton campaign and will definitely make it hard for her to beat any Republican nominee.
Bernie Sanders has been compared to Ralph Nader as far as his power to split the Democratic party, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Sanders has said before, whether it will actually be the case or not, that he won’t run as an Independent if he doesn’t win the Democratic nomination. That doesn’t mean all his supporters are a sure thing to move on over to vote for Hillary Clinton though. Actually, many Sanders supporters have vowed to vote “Bernie or Bust” and will either write him in for the general election or vote for any number of people who are not Hillary Clinton. The Revolt Against Plutocracy campaign is asking Bernie Sanders’ supporters to make a pledge to either write in Sanders or vote for the Green Party in the event that he doesn’t win the Democratic nomination.
Bustle interviewed a handful of “Bernie or Bust” supporters and asked them about their reasons for refusing to vote for Hillary Clinton as well as their plans should Sanders not win the nomination. Their answers ranged anywhere from writing in Bernie to voting for the Green Party candidate Jill Stein to even voting for the current Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump. One reader responded by saying, “I will not vote for Hillary Clinton ever, period. I don’t care why, I won’t. I know what she will do. If she’s in office, I know exactly what that will bring. I will not knowingly vote for that.”
As for the reasons, there are way too many to count. Some of the biggest reasons that Bernie Sanders’ most ardent supporters are citing for their refusal to vote for Clinton include her acceptance of campaign contributions from large corporations and Super PACs as well as the lengthy sheet of scandals that the Clintons have been involved in over the years.
Given the huge amount of support for Bernie Sanders from voters who aren’t registered Democrats, there has been a call to break off and form what could be a very strong and viable third party of progressives. As it stands, Sanders may not be winning the race for the Democratic nomination, but his supporters are determined, and they are loyal. Many have registered as Democrats just for the opportunity to vote for Bernie in their state primary and have no loyalty to the party or to the candidate that they ultimately will nominate if it’s not Sanders.
Binghamton University Pipe Dream reported on the “Bernie or Bust” movement and the possibility that it could split the Democratic party. They pointed out the glaring differences between Sanders’ campaign and his current rival Hillary Clinton. Most notably, they highlighted Bernie’s refusal to accept money from Super PACs while continuing to fight to take big money out of politics while Clinton receives a good portion of her donations from them.
There has also been some talk about how the “Bernie or Bust” movement may cause such a rift within the Democratic party that it will cause a Republican candidate like Donald Trump to win the 2016 presidential race. While some Sanders supporters are horrified at the thought, others have been quick to point out that the Democrats should opt to nominate a more electable candidate that is favorable to more people rather than foist Hillary Clinton upon them and then get upset when those who refuse to vote for her cause a split and possibly even the presidency. Especially when polls comparing Clinton and Sanders to the Republican candidates prove that despite Hillary having more individual votes in the primaries, Sanders is more electable against any Republican candidate in the running.
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