‘Bernie Or Bust’ Movement Rejects Calls For Party Unity

One day before California and several other states hold their primaries, Hillary Clinton surrogates are forcefully urging Bernie Sanders supporters to fall in line and unify behind her. Her campaign’s methods of unifying, however, are quite mystifying. At a rally in Los Angeles, Bill Clinton derided Sanders supporters by saying after Tuesday they “will be toast.” He also claimed his wife had “bent over backwards” to be positive during the campaign, something many Sanders supporters heartily disagree with. The Clinton campaign, and the Democratic Party’s call to unify, has only served to anger them, and to make Bernie or Bust a harsh reality come November.

In late May, this writer conducted an informal survey, about which I’ve already written. However, in light of these renewed calls to support the DNC’s chosen candidate, more details on the results seem appropriate. Specifically, the written responses.

More than 4,500 people completed the Bernie or Bust income survey, and hundreds of those respondents gave written responses as to why they are Bernie or Bust.

As reported previously by the Inquisitr, Bernie or Bust is not about economic privilege. It’s not about a group of spoiled people stamping their feet and having a temper tantrum because things are not going their way. On the contrary, Bernie or Bust is a movement against what many see as massive, tentacled corruption with the party and the United States government. In 2016, it is practically impossible to separate corporations from government because, as Noam Chomsky says, corporations are writing U.S. law via lobbyists.

“Corporate campaign contributions are a major factor in determining the outcome of elections, and the same is sure to be true of the virtually unlimited advertising for candidates now permitted by the Court. This alone is a significant factor in policy decisions, reinforced by the enormous power of corporate lobbies and other conditions imposed by the very small sector of the population that dominates the economy.”

Respondents of the informal survey exhibited several similar themes: an overwhelming sense of urgency, followed by people who are fed up with the election process and would like to vote for decent, honest candidates for a change.

More people are rejecting party unity in favor of Bernie or Bust. Bernie Sanders campaign rally in Cathedral City, Calif., Wednesday, May 25. [AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes]As noted in a previous report, most of the respondents are either living in poverty, or have moderate incomes. The few Bernie or Bust supporters who described their economic situation as “comfortable” or “well-off” also understand that in order for a society to thrive, the poorest among us must be taken care of.

“To be honest, I am privileged, but the Bernie or Bust philosophy is not. Personally, I’m doing fine, and I’m financially strong enough to look out for me and mine regardless of the outcome of the election. But I’m not fighting for Bernie for my own self-interest. I’m fighting for Bernie because I know not everyone has had the lucky breaks in life that I have. For the unprivileged to do better, the system must change. For the earth to survive, the system must change now. The poor and suffering will continue to do worse under an imperialistic plutocratic oligarchy, which is what either Trump or Clinton represents. We can’t let the establishment keep getting away with electing corporate puppets. Those who can afford to do so are not only privileged, but either callous or blind.”

Another Bernie or Bust supporter had this to say about Hillary.

“Bernie or Bust is probably the last best chance to reverse the tsunami tide of oligarchy. Hillary may be somewhat socially progressive but she is not better than a Republican in her attitude and actions regarding the poor, especially POC [People of Color]. She has ‘evolved’ on so many issues that a person can’t be blamed for thinking that she will say or do anything to get herself elected. Bernie or Bust may be a losing proposition, but it is a principled one.”

Respondents discussed living paycheck to paycheck, their rising insurance premiums overtaking their mortgage payments in terms of cost, and how their salaries have barely increased in years. Still, others were tired of being force-fed a candidate they loathe.

“The movement is about making sure that the DNC knows that we will not allow them to shove their candidate down our throats! It is worth four years of Trump in order to accomplish this. Besides, Trump is less dangerous than Hillary.”

As one respondent noted, sometimes it is better in the long term to take two steps back in order to make more progress for the future. It is a sentiment that many Bernie or Bust supporters share: sometimes in order to fix a broken system, the only thing to do is to knock it down and rebuild it from scratch.


Overwhelmingly, those who provided written responses to the survey gave detailed, well-thought out reasons. It is apparent that the vast majority of the survey takers are educated on the issues and that they have real, concrete concerns about the future that the DNC is aggressively ignoring. This isn’t a movement led by entitled young people. It is a movement created and led by people who have spent years voting, researching the issues, and making a reasoned decision about not supporting a lesser-of-two-evils candidate. Because in many people’s minds, Clinton is actually the worse choice.

Gary Frazier, who is a leader of Black Men For Bernie told CNN why he is Bernie or Bust.

“You can’t expose the corruption of the political system and then expect us to get behind that same political system.”

Even Bernie Sanders himself has said that Clinton must earn the votes of Bernie or Bust supporters. During an appearance on CNN with Jake Tapper, Sanders said that it is Clinton’s responsibility to “explain to those people why she should get their support.” It appears she is not doing a very job of doing that.

Of course, this has not gone over well with the DNC or the Clinton campaign. Already they are feeling the effects of those who have vowed to never vote for Hillary, which is why they are ramping up the urgent calls to unify. What they don’t understand is, Bernie or Bust folks are unified: against Clinton.

Find the full results of the survey here.

If you are interested in taking the Bernie or Bust pledge, or learning more about it, please visit Revolt Against Plutocracy’s website.

[Photo by Sandy Huffaker/AP Images]