Source: Emily Zanotti
Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) hardcore supporters say that, despite assurances from the Democratic National Committee that left-leaning voters will fall in line behind the likely Democratic presidential nominee, they’re ready to “resist” casting a ballot for former Vice President Joe Biden, “even if that means handing [President Donald] Trump a second term,” according to the New York Post.
Biden pulled well ahead of Sanders in the delegate count last week after inking convincing victories in the South Carolina primary, several major Super Tuesday states, and in the all-important battleground state of Michigan, where he beat the Vermont socialist by a respectable 14 points.
But although Biden is now considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, many Sanders’ supporters believe the former Veep’s remarkable comeback from near complete obscurity was orchestrated by Democratic powers-that-be and that powerful “moderates” are pressing Sanders out of competition for the nod.
They’re planning to fight back.
“We will never – NEVER boost or support Joe Biden or defend his abysmal record and terrible policy positions,” one progressive activist told the New York Post. “We will tell people, as we always have, to vote their conscience and to make decisions based on the interests of all the world’s oppressed people … I do expect a massive exodus from the Democratic Party.”
“I don’t know if I could vote for Biden,” one “high-profile local Democratic Socialist” added. “Biden is just an old white guy who inspires nobody. I sincerely think he will lose the electoral and popular vote and I know I won’t be voting for him in New York.”
The “Bernie Bros,” as Sanders’ die-hard supporters are called, are notoriously aggressive, attacking Sanders’ detractors on social media and, more recently, taking their opposition to the Democratic “establishment” into real life, allegedly threatening Democratic party officials and even, in one case, causing a near-riot at a Democratic party event in Nevada. Several had to be forcibly removed from the Nevada Democratic Party’s annual convention at a Las Vegas casino after throwing objects and reportedly threatening speakers who had disqualified several Sanders delegates.
In 2016, after Sanders lost the party’s presidential nomination to Hillary Clinton — a loss the “Bernie Bros” blamed on the DNC and “superdelegates” who declared their affiliation to Clinton before the primaries began — “[a] whopping 12% of them voted for Trump in 2016, according to an analysis by Cooperative Congressional Election Study. That added up to roughly 216,000 voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, exit polls showed. Trump’s combined margin of victory in those states was 77,744.”
That doesn’t change their calculus, though, the “Bernie Bros” say.
Sanders himself is staying in the race, even though it’s unlikely he’ll make up the difference in delegates between now and July. The Sanders campaign announced Wednesday that the Vermont socialist plans on attending Sunday night’s presidential debate, now moved to Washington, D.C. from Phoenix, Arizona, over coronavirus concerns, and will compete in Tuesday’s primaries (most of which are still on despite “social distancing” policies). Sanders has the money and support to remain competitive for some time, and his supporters hope that his continued presence boosts progressive influence within the party — even if Sanders’ base seems smaller in 2020 than it was in 2016.
“I think staying in the race is the responsible thing to do,” one notable progresssive added. “He needs to challenge Biden on certain aspects of his rhetoric. He needs to accumulate clout and delegates to shape the Democratic platform and pressure the Biden campaign into adopting a more popular economic platform.”