Bernie Sanders supporters are known for their steadfast loyalty to the socialist Vermont Senator, and some are promising to sit at home on Election Day if Joe Biden becomes the party’s nominee. These supporters warn that nominating another establishment candidate will ensure Trump’s reelection because they’ll sit it out.
Sanders’ supporters feel he “isn’t getting his due though he’s proven to have staying power in public opinion and fundraising, even after suffering a heart attack last October,” reports the Washington Examiner. “As of last week, he leads a tight four-horse race in Iowa ahead of the first-in-the-nation caucuses on Feb. 3, raising a record figure of $34.5 million in the final financial quarter of 2019 for a total of $96 million.” Despite his strengths in the primary, they feel he’s being ignored and underestimated, and the possibility of nominating a socialist-lite candidate, they say, will dampen the enthusiasm of the grassroots.
“When I look at some of these other candidates out there, I can see them just sucking any enthusiasm from any undecided voters. So anyone who might have been for Bernie won’t vote for Biden, or any of the others out there,” said Joe Jackelen, a Bernie Sanders supporter in Iowa, to the Washington Examiner. “I think that people will sit at home because they see establishment Democrats that don’t really care. The only thing that they bring to the table is that they’re not Trump. That is not going to drive enough people out that will get a win over Trump,” he added.
Will Bernie Sanders’ diehard supporters actually sit out the election in appreciable numbers if Bernie doesn’t win the nomination? We can really only speculate at this point. It seems like every election cycle has vocal coalitions of voters who threaten to sit out on Election Day. Evangelicals supposedly sat at home rather than support John McCain in 2008. There was an alleged coalition of Hillary supporters who weren’t going to vote for Obama either (remember P.U.M.A.?), and then there were the NeverTrumpers in 2016… we all know how that turned out.
Bernie Sanders’ supporters would certainly like everyone to believe their threat to sit out the election in November could have consequences. I’m sure they believe they kept Hillary from winning Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and therefore they should be taken seriously. The Democratic National Committee might legitimately be concerned about this, as they’ve been promoting post-primary unity since November.
Personally, I don’t think Bernie supporters would sit out the election. We’ve seen these types of threats before and they typically show themselves to be all bark and no bite.
Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis