Still Blaming Bernie

August 24, 2017 By: El Jefe Category: 2016 Election, Flamethrower

Yesterday, Newsweek published a story accusing Bernie voters of tipping the 2016 election to Trump.  It uses data from the 2016 Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, compiled by Political Wire, that showed that, indeed, 10% of Bernie primary voters went for Trump in the general. It then goes into a swing state analysis that showed that Trump’s winning margin was less than the Bernie’s voters who went for Trump.  The implication was clear – stubborn Bernie voters wrecked Hillary’s bid for the presidency.  How evil they were and inconsiderate of Hillary and all of her supporters.  Fair enough.

There was an interesting mention, though, of a few not insignificant details at the very end of the article…First, the 10% of Bernie voters that went for Trump paled in comparison to the TWENTY FIVE percent of Hillary voters who went for McCain in 2008 (hypocrisy, anyone?).  More important, and one that I hadn’t realized was so large, was that almost 30% of Bernie voters were actually self identified Republican or leaned Republican.  Conversely, Hillary only attracted about 6 or 7% of the same demographic.

So, was it Bernie and his evil bots who wrecked Hillary’s election, or was it actually the fact that Hillary failed to attract the same demographic that Bernie did?  Trump certainly attracted a wide demographic of support.  Bernie attracted a wide demographic of support.  Hillary simply did not.  So, should the headline of the Newsweek article have been BERNIE SANDERS VOTERS HELPED TRUMP WIN AND HERE’S PROOF,  or should it have been HILLARY CLINTON LOST BECAUSE SHE FAILED TO ATTRACT A WIDER DEMOGRAPHIC THAN TRUMP?

I know the answer, but Hillary’s supporters, and many in the party, still cling to the myth that Bernie wrecked her election.  The inconvenient truth is that the numbers are the numbers and they speak for themselves; this lesson must be learned by the Democratic party lest it have to re-learn it in 2020.

I’m not holding my breath.



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24 Comments to “Still Blaming Bernie”

  1. I think the bigger issue is how large a percentage (over 80%) of the “Did not vote” crowd were Dems or leaned Dem. If just half of these guys had showed up, the election would have been a blow-out for Hillary.

  2. Susan Grundy says:

    Bernie and Hillary supporters need to put this to rest. I really appreciate your articles and insights but I am over the last election. The Media can keep rehasing this and it will keep us divided. I voted on issues so I voted Bernie in the primaries and gladly Hillary in the election. Trump was never an option. But that is in the past and personally I feel that articles like this stir up old divisions. Why is it important to make a point that you think Hillary voters are wrong? There are many things Democrats can agree on — lets move forward on those, education, health care, Peace, sanity in government – by the people for the people. The primary thing we can agree on is lets get rid of Trump!!!!

  3. I voted for Bernie. I call myself an independent but have usually voted democratic nationally. Bernie had well-defined goals and spoke on issues that cut across a wide range of political groups and included milennials to seniors like me. I agree with Alison that a lot of voters did not vote. Whether they were democrats or not, voter registration and GETTING OUT THE VOTE is primary before the midterms.

  4. And then there’s this: 1. All those who have been told constantly that government is not the solution but the problem, and 2. All those who just don’t dig politics or politicians and consider both a waste of time as the little guy is only gonna get screwed any way.

  5. @Susan Grundy
    I agree that we should not be rehashing 2016 and focus on 2018 and beyond. This includes choosing candidates to support going forward. Take away the Hillary-hate and the Bernie-bros and we can have a discussion about the good parts of the left wing of the Democratic party and the good parts of the more corporate-focused parts of the Party. I’m left wing but willing to listen.

  6. Damn, El Jefe, you’re worse than Trump at relitigating the 2016 election – and almost as annoying.

    Give it a damn rest!

  7. Burrowing owl says:

    Long-time lurker from Florida weighing in to thank Susan Grundy. The constant re-litigation is tedious. By now, there’s better things to do with the bandwidth, especially with our present national emergency.

  8. What seems missing, is any mention about the efficacy of nearly forty years of Hillary/Clinton bashing by the RW media. It absolutely worked. When questioned, a relative of mine stated the there seemed be a lot of dead people whenever Hillary was around. Years of demagoguery effectively worked magic with many unwilling to look under the hood for actual facts. Another relative stayed that she had too much connection with Wall Street. So, we elect a narcissistic, “billionaire, instead.

  9. Linda Phipps says:

    I am sick to death of the self-flagellation over “what went wrong”. Even Hillary has her book about it, and I expect the only part people will want to read, or highlight, is the part about Trump hovering over her in the second debate. That actually IS something to discuss.

  10. You’re obsessive over this and keep insisting that it’s other people’s doing. Where have we seen this before?

  11. That people didn’t see what was coming and run to the polls to stop it proves the majority of Americans don’t even care enough to save themselves or their children. That should be our takeaway from the election. How do you fix that?

  12. I’m with Tata

    Also, No amount of voter turnout will help if most of them have shit for brains.

    How anybody who supported Sanders could for one minute think Trump would be a better POTUS than Hillary is beyond me.

    Somebody with more brains than me needs to figure out why the majority of our population is as self absorbed and stupid as Trump.

    Now to calm myself, i’m gonna listen to JJ Cale perform ‘It’s Easy’.

  13. fierywoman says:

    What I profoundly fear is the idea that, no matter how strong the turnout, the voting machines are so vulnerable to hacking that the numbers wouldn’t make any difference. The hackers (at the hacking convention recently) EASILY got into ALL the machines within 90 minutes.
    And then there’s gerrymandering and voter suppression…

  14. Did not Bernie Sanders, after losing the primary, urge voters to vote for Hillary instead of Trump? I recall that he did.

    Why did he do that? Because Hillary’s policies were more in line with his than were anyone else’s, particularly Trump’s.

    But the voters we are talking about, the enthusiastic Bernie voters that Hillary “failed to attract” went and voted for someone other than what Bernie Sanders preferred.

    And why did the do that? Because contrary to their reverent statements they never cared about the issues. They just wanted to either be part of a revolution or just stick it to people who they perceived wronged them.

  15. I say this with all due respect,

  16. Electoral College??

  17. In 1961 I watched the left eat its own. Nothing’s changed.

  18. My take on this is that while Bernie supported Hillary, there was a group of his “supporters”, dubbed Bernie Bros. who consistently attacked Hillary and her supporters on social media. I put “supporters” in quotes because my suspicion is that the core of the Bernie Bros were Russian bots and Macedonian teenagers. It would make sense that part of the Russian operation was to keep the Democrats from unifying around Hillary. By creating an AstroTurf group of Never Hillary, Bernie supports, the Russians could create a festering sore withing the Democrats. I don’t know if that will ever be proven, but there is at least some evidence to support it.

  19. Please. I am begging you, please. On my knees, please. What the song says . . . . .

    “Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.
    Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.”

  20. Ranger Jay says:

    About the election and Hillary’s loss, I have two words:

    James Comey

  21. #13 fierywoman: perfectly said. I don’t trust election “results” from many locations. Add in gerrymandering, voter suppression. Enough to make one scream.

    Those who gave us trump because they just couldn’t vote for Hillary (for many ridiculous “reasons”) have given us this mess. Civil rights, public lands, clean air & water, etc., etc. being taken away from we the people thanks to trump, et al.

    Thank god I live in a blue state. At least I feel like I have some protections.

  22. Elizabeth Moon says:

    One lesson Democrats need to learn is how to turn an almost 3 million popular vote popular into a an actual win. Hillary did not “fail.” She won the vote, in spite of all the obstacles thrown in her way, some of them unique in Presidential races. Any criticism that leans on her “failure” (whether it’s to capture “the same demographic” or anything else) is a denial of reality. Rather than being “most hated” she *won the popular vote.* You don’t do that if you’re not doing something –a lot of something–right. Study what went right, and then study how to make that work better. And look for candidates that can do what she did, only more so.

    The other lesson Democrats need to learn is that coddling so-called Independents (like the supposedly Bernie-loving Republicans who ended up voting for Trump) isn’t worth the time and effort. From my perspective, Bernie was only narrowly qualified, and his inability to attract non-abusive male voters (instead of rowdy boyz who spent their energy badmouthing Hillary and her supporters) was an additional problem. Bernie himself did damn all to help the Democrats win once he wasn’t the star of the show. He should not have been supported as a Democratic Party candidate. I listened carefully to his speeches, read things he’d written, looked at his background…and he was neither a good Democrat nor a fully qualified candidate. (I would’ve voted for him in the general if necessary, knowing he would probably be better than Trump, but would be a weak President with zero real ability to do important parts of the job.)

    Talking to the Bernie supporters I personally knew, they were not ever going to vote for whichever candidate won the nomination…they were ready to switch to Trump if Hillary was nominated, and they did. None of them were long-time Democrats–they were “weak Republicans” and there is no guarantee they wouldn’t have voted for Trump in the general election anyway. (There were fanatic Bernie supporters, but there were also cold and calculating ones. True of nearly all candidates.)

    The third lesson Democrats need to learn is how to undo the combination of gerrymandering and voter suppression that cost us at least a million votes, probably more. We must quit sneering at people for “staying home” but instead focus on making sure those who were denied a vote can have voting rights restored. Voter suppression and gerrymandering are both aimed directly at Democratic voters. I have personally experienced an attempt at it by county GOP officials–but being as I’m white and not easy to shut up, and already had a passport to wave at the idjits, both times I got back on the rolls. Others lack both my white privilege and my ability to produce a drill-instructor glare. (Was not, however, able to identify the individual or individuals responsible.)

    I am willing to “let it go” but only if everyone else does.

  23. Juanita Jean Herownself says:

    I am heavily distracted tonight but I just want to say that I think Elizabeth has some dandy ideas here.

  24. So your arguments basically are to compare to very different elections, one from 8 years ago and the idea that Sanders won more conservative voters. It’s really of to me that the people who think the Dems aren’t *left* enough want to go after more conservative voters. Of course there is a demographic that Sanders completely failed with, and that is people of color, the try strength of the Democratic party.
    Your arguments are very weak tea indeed.