A new poll shows that if the Democratic National Committee looks to snub presidential candidate Bernie Sanders again in 2020—like they did in 2016—then more than a quarter of his supporters will back President Trump in the general election.
About 12 percent of Sanders supporters in 2016 eventually backed Trump in the general election, the Cooperative Congressional Election Study found via the Washington Examiner—a number that has more than doubled four years later.
According to the Washington Examiner, Sanders supporters are taking on a “Bernie or bust” attitude. From the report:
An Emerson College poll this month showed 26% of those who support Sanders in the Democratic primaries and caucuses would support Trump over Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., despite their overlapping policy positions.
The Sanders-to-Trump inclination stems in part from the belief that the Democratic National Committee “cheated” Sanders in the bitter 2016 primary with the superdelegate system and Democratic staff bias in favor of eventual nominee Hillary Clinton. Concern over establishment control of the nomination process and other aspects of the campaign season persist among Sanders loyalists.
“If they cheat again, I have told people I will vote for Trump,” Pennsylvania resident and Sanders supporter Keith Ward, 58, told the Washington Examiner. “Not because I like him, but because if this country is going down a slippery slope, they have no one to blame but themselves … [no] matter how much damage I believe Trump is doing.”
“If the DNC screws him again, like it’s already looking they will, I’ll stay home on voting day. I may vote for Trump just to make sure their candidate loses,” another Sanders supporter said via the report.
Much of the animosity from the Sanders camp emerged when Sanders supporters controversially claimed that the DNC had rigged the Democratic primary to favor Clinton. It was not until after the election that these rumors were confirmed.
A 2016 Chicago Tribune report details, “Top Democrats essentially dismissed Sanders as a viable candidate during the primaries, attempted to undermine him with voters and even took steps to derail his campaign.”
Former interim chair of the Democratic National Committee Donna Brazile shared with Politico Magazine that the Hillary Clinton campaign had essentially taken over the DNC during the 2016 presidential primaries and gave Clinton an unfair advantage over Sanders.
In the Magazine, Brazile describes a conversation she had with Gary Gensler, the chief financial officer of the Clinton campaign.
Gensler “described the party as fully under the control of Hillary’s campaign, which seemed to confirm the suspicions of the Bernie camp. The campaign had the DNC on life support, giving it money every month to meet its basic expenses, while the campaign was using the party as a fund-raising clearinghouse. Under FEC law, an individual can contribute a maximum of $2,700 directly to a presidential campaign. But the limits are much higher for contributions to state parties and a party’s national committee.”
Individuals who had maxed out their $2,700 contribution limit to the campaign could write an additional check for $353,400 to the Hillary Victory Fund—that figure represented $10,000 to each of the 32 states’ parties who were part of the Victory Fund agreement—$320,000—and $33,400 to the DNC. The money would be deposited in the states first, and transferred to the DNC shortly after that. Money in the battleground states usually stayed in that state, but all the other states funneled that money directly to the DNC, which quickly transferred the money to Brooklyn.
“Wait,” I said. “That victory fund was supposed to be for whoever was the nominee, and the state party races. You’re telling me that Hillary has been controlling it since before she got the nomination?”
Gary said the campaign had to do it or the party would collapse.