A big question for Sanders’ supporters has been what to do should Clinton win the Democratic nomination. This nomination battle differs from other recent battles in the vast ideological difference between many of those supporting Sanders and Hillary Clinton. I previously looked at some of the reasons that some Sanders supporters might not vote for Clinton here. The normal pattern is for the losing candidate to endorse the winning candidate. That does not mean that the losing candidate’s supporters will go along, and Bernie pointed out that he realizes his supporters will not automatically support Clinton if she wins:
Bernie Sanders says Hillary Clinton shouldn’t expect his supporters to automatically back her should she win the Democratic presidential nomination.
“It’s a two-way street, the Clinton people are also going to have to listen to what these people are fighting for,” Sanders said during an interview on CNN’s “New Day.
“The Clinton people are going to have to say, well, maybe Bernie has a point that we should not be the only major country on earth not to guarantee healthcare to all people or have paid family or medical leave. And maybe, yes, the billionaire class should start paying their fair share of taxes, and maybe, yes, we should break up Wall Street,” he said.
“It’s not me. I don’t control millions of people, but the Clinton campaign is going to have to make the case to those young people that in fact they are prepared to stand up for some real, fundamental changes in this country, and that’s the case they have not yet been able to make,” Sanders said…
Sanders maintained Monday that while Clinton is the Democratic front-runner and has moved to the left on some issues during the campaign, she has not yet made the case to win over his supporters.
“They’re very good at rhetoric, and certainly she has moved to the left in this campaign in response to many of the initiatives that we have brought forth,” Sanders said.
“The average person understands that when you collect such large amounts of money from Wall Street and other special interests, they have their doubts whether the Clinton people will stand up to these powerful forces,” he added.
Clinton might have moved to the left on selective issues during this campaign, but she is certainly no liberal. Supporting programs to benefit women and children is admirable, but is not sufficient to make one a liberal–especially when she is a warmonger, opposes government transparency, supports the corrupting role of money in government, opposes single-payer health care, ran in 2008 as a self-described pro-gun churchgoer, worked with The Fellowship in the Senate, and supports restrictions on civil liberties. On issues such as trade, the drug war, and foreign intervention, Clinton is even to the right of Republican front runner Donald Trump (who has many faults of his own).
Preventing independents from voting in the New York primary, as well as the other irregularities there, will also not make independents supporting Sanders feel good about voting for Clinton if she wins.
I also wonder if there is more meaning to these words from Sanders. Most likely he will endorse Clinton if she is the nominee, with the understanding that his supporters will make their own decisions. However he has sounded less and less like someone who is willing to support the party if he loses, making me wonder if he is reconsidering his previous statements that he would not run as an independent.