According to a new Op-Ed by Jon Levine, some Democrats are so anti-Bernie Sanders that if he wins the DNC nomination they may stay at home, vote third party, or even vote for Trump.
These Democrats are feeling Berned out.
Democratic donors and party insiders are warning that large swaths of their voters could stay home — or even defect to Trump — if Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders snags the nomination.
“I’ll still put a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker on my car, but a lot of people won’t,” said Jim Kessler, executive vice president for policy at Third Way, a Democratic think tank not aligned with any candidate. “They’ll say ‘I don’t like Donald Trump, but I don’t like Sanders either. We survived four years of Trump, maybe we’ll survive another four years.’ They’ll stay home, vote third party, or vote for Trump.”
An insider working with Mike Bloomberg’s campaign agreed: “I think that there is a very real ‘Never Bernie’ sentiment amongst both the donor class and moderate, centrist Democrats, or what I would call regular Democrats. Bloomberg and Pete [Buttigieg] and [Joe] Biden, who represent the heart and soul of the party — their supporters are not as apt to support someone like Bernie.”
After an October heart attack left many assuming Sanders’ candidacy was DOA, the 78-year-old socialist has bounced back. A new Iowa State University poll found 24 percent of Iowa voters behind him, with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 19 percent; former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Buttigieg at 17 percent and former VP Biden at 15 percent. In New Hampshire, another recent poll gave Sanders a 15-point lead.
This has led to alarm bells among establishment Democrats, one of whom said Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party blowout in England to Boris Johnson was a warning shot.
Among insiders there is near-universal belief that Sanders’ card carrying socialist credentials could create enormous problems with suburban and older voters — both of whom tend to be wealthier than the general population. While millennials are evenly split between socialism or capitalism, only 39 percent of Generation Xers and 32 percent of Baby Boomers held favorable views of “socialism,” according to a November 2019 Gallup poll.
Sanders was the first socialist elected to Congress in decades when he arrived as a freshman Representative in 1991. He moved up to the Senate in 2007. He has always worn the baggage — like past praise for Fidel Castro, and his Soviet honeymoon — on his sleeve. With few major legislative achievements, he was largely dismissed as a Senate sideshow — until his breakout performance in the 2016 Democratic primary.
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