Berniecrats Were Not Necessarily Democrats In The 2016 Election Similar To Hillary Supporters in 2008 And That’s OK
Jason Le Miere reports that according to the analysis of the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, fewer than 80 percent of Berniecrats, those who voted for independent turned Democrat turned independent in the Democratic primary, did the same for Clinton when she faced off against Trump a few months later. What’s more, 12 percent of those who backed Sanders actually cast a vote for Trump.
The impact of those votes was significant. In each of the three states that ultimately swung the election for Trump—Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania—Trump’s margin of victory over Clinton was smaller than the number of Sanders voters who gave him their vote.
Berniecrats Are Not Democrats
Of those who switched their allegiance from Sanders to Trump less than 10 percent considered themselves strong Democrats, while less than 50 percent even leaned Democrat. The number of Sanders supporters who crossed party lines to vote for Trump in 2016 may not be that unusual though. A 2010 study in Public Opinion Quarterly found that in the 2008 election 25 percent of those who voted for Clinton in the Democratic primary ended up voting for Republican John McCain, rather than Barack Obama, in the general election. What’s clear is that John McCain is not Donald Trump. It seems that in both 2008 and 2016, about 1 in 4 Democrats don’t vote for the party’s eventual nominee.
The reason this is important is because Berniecrats are now attacking Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Deval Patrick, Kirsten Gillibrand, Andrew Cuomo and anyone else who is not Bernie Sanders that may possibly run in 2020. This is not only unproductive, but indicative of a larger problem.
The winner of the Democratic primary, will have to anticipate 20 to 25% of his primary opponent’s voters crossing party lines. This was something Barack Obama was able to overcome in 2008 that Hillary Clinton was not in 2016. Moving forward, the Democratic Party must do a better job of instilling party loyalty.