Bernie or Bust had it right, it would appear.
After months of warning that Bernie Sanders was the only Democratic candidate with a chance of beating Donald Trump in the general election, the most vocal supporters of the Vermont Senator appeared to be vindicated on Tuesday when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in something close to an electoral college landslide.
This contingent had been pointing to a series of polls taken and published before the Democratic primaries ended showing Sanders with a healthy lead over Trump. Critics had dismissed these arguments by claiming that Sanders had not seen the level of attacks as Hillary Clinton, ones that he would certainly face had he defeated Clinton. The polls that showed Bernie Sanders on top would take a hit once Trump began his attacks, they argued.
There is now evidence that Bernie Sanders could have maintained his popularity. A poll published this week found that voters still preferred Bernie Sanders over Donald Trump, The Huffington Post noted.
“The national survey of more than 1,600 registered voters, conducted by Gravis Marketing two days before the general election, found that Sanders would have received 56 percent of the vote while Trump would have won 44 percent. The poll was commissioned and financed by outgoing Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, a Democrat who endorsed Sanders in the presidential primary.”
If those numbers held up, Bernie Sanders would have scored the largest election victory since Ronald Reagan trounced Walter Mondale in 1984.
That isn’t sitting well with the most fervent supporters of Bernie Sanders, many of whom tried to warn voters that Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses would hand a victory to Donald Trump. Many were angry that emails from the Democratic National Party leaked to the internet by WikiLeaks appeared to show insiders putting their thumb on the scale in favor of Clinton, making what was a nearly impossible primary for Bernie Sanders.
Some of them are even happy to see Hillary Clinton fall flat after what they saw as unfair tactics.
“Schadenfreude,” Philip Werlau, a Bernie Sanders supporter, told NPR about his thoughts on the election. “That is the German word for taking pleasure in someone else’s misfortune…. Because I don’t want Trump to be president. But I’m happy that what I perceived as unfair tactics lost.”
— An0maly (@An0malyMusic) November 12, 2016
These poll results do not surprise me. He would have been a great president.https://t.co/w5dcZwfLC8
— Ray Galuszka Jr (@RayGaluszkaJr) November 12, 2016
Sanders has also been highly critical of the fact that Democrats lost working class white voters, a demographic once taken for granted by the party. Much of the appeal for Bernie Sanders came from his connection to working class voters and vows to dismantle an economic system tilted toward the rich.
“It is an embarrassment, I think, to the entire of Democratic Party that millions of white working-class people decided to vote for Mr. Trump, which suggests that the Democratic message of standing up for working people no longer holds much sway among workers in this country,” Sanders said (via Fox News).
Some Sanders supporters are now calling on him to mount a 2020 run, though Sanders himself has not given an indication of whether he might consider it.
Though signs point toward a Bernie Sanders victory had he been chosen as the Democratic Party’s nominee, there is still plenty of doubt about whether the numbers would hold up. Though Hillary Clinton was one of the most unpopular candidates ever — behind only Donald Trump — Sanders had his own faults including a far-left voting record and self-identification as a Democratic socialist that likely wouldn’t sit well with moderate or right-leaning voters. And those saying he would have won are pointing to poll numbers, but this election showed that polling was unreliably and had actually forecast Hillary Clinton to win handily.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]