Anyone that remembers the 2016 Democratic Primaries and campaign, knows the Bernie Sanders voters were all in. Aided by a combination of the DNC, Russian hackers, Wiki-Leaks, and Donald Trump; Bernie loyalists feel he was cheated out of the Democrat nomination and should be President of the United States. They were totally pissed and didn’t join forces with Hillary Clinton voters to defeat Trump. Enough Bernie voters stuck to their mantra and decided to take a chance on “Bust,” either voting for Trump, 3rd Party candidate Jill Stein, or no one at all. The question is, what are they going to do this time?
A Presidential campaign has ebbs and flows. It’s way too early to state with certainty the outcome today before even the Iowa Primary has taken place. But if the election were held today. Bernie Sanders would finish far out of first place. The best day of his campaign was his first, bringing in $5.9 million from 220,000 individual donors. Joe Biden had yet to enter the race and he was the clear leader. Sanders still has a loyal base, but he is no longer the leader. In one recent poll of New Hampshire voters showed Bernie in fifth place. Behind Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, and even Mayor Pete Buttigieg. It’s time to face the prospect that Bernie will lose again. This time without the familiar refrain that he was cheated. So what will the Bernie voters do?
There exists today a “Bernie or Bust,” Facebook page with 16,000 members. In addition to information about his, “Medicare For All” plan, there’s whining about “unfair media coverage” relative to other candidates. There’s the suggestion he runs as an Independent if not the winner. There’s a sense of entitlement you’d never find in the Kamala Harris or Cory Booker camps. While Biden perhaps feels he should inherit the nomination due to his service as Barack Obama’s Vice-President, nobody has a greater sense of entitlement than a Bernie voter. So if he again loses… what are you prepared to do?
Democrats (of which Bernie Sanders is not one) are hoping that all Democrats will coalesce behind the ultimate nominee to defeat Donald Trump, which is the ultimate goal, right? Say what you like about Trump’s base, they’re loyal, and he can get 40% of the vote without regard to what others think of him. Bernie Sanders running as an Independent could severely damage the chances of whoever the Democrat nominee might be. Will Bernie be the Democrat-aligned Independent, more concerned with defeating Donald Trump than his personal agenda? Or will he try to keep hope alive, continuing to run without any hope of winning? Will Bernie be a team player, or will he or his followers lead a bust movement as they did before? Time will tell.