Supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) are declaring that they were right to back him in the primary over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom party elders said was more “electable.”
The aging Vermont socialist mounted a stronger-than-expected challenge nationwide, winning dramatic upsets, packing rallies, and fighting the Democratic primary down to the wire. Now, fans who still “Feel the Bern” are complaining anew — and mounting challenges to seize control of state parties.
Supporters of Bernie Sanders’ failed presidential bid are seizing on Democratic disarray at the national level to launch a wave of challenges to Democratic Party leaders in the states.
The goal is to replace party officials in states where Sanders defeated Hillary Clinton during the acrimonious Democratic primary with more progressive leadership.
Sanders supporters are particularly aggrieved that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) colluded with Clinton to block him. Releases of internal DNC emails by Wikileaks in July showed that DNC officials had coordinated with the Clinton campaign. Then-DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned, but her successor, former CNN contributor Donna Brazile, was later shown by Wikileaks to have leaked debate questions to Clinton in advance of primary debates against Sanders.
Hundreds of Sanders supporters walked out of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in July in a protest dubbed “#Demexit,” after what they described as suppression by party officials, including seating non-Sanders delegates in their sections of the Wells Fargo arena, and turning off lights above vociferous delegations such as Washington and Oregon.
Now, Sanders fans are circulating articles on social media arguing that Sanders would have beaten Trump. Left-wing journalist Glenn Greenwald — who is partly responsible for the dramatic Edward Snowden leaks about the National Security Agency — told Democracy Now: “Bernie Sanders was a much more popular and a much stronger candidate than Hillary Clinton against every single Republican opponent, including Donald Trump. He was running many points ahead of Clinton on every poll, in terms of who he might run against versus her, in terms of approval rating, in terms of popularity.”
Greenwald pointed out that many of the grievances that motivated voters in the Upper Midwest to back Trump were also issues that Sanders had highlighted in his own campaign.
Writing in the Washington Post (and reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle), Fredrik de Boer argues that Sanders was more popular than Clinton and that he could have run a more authentic campaign against Trump: “Sanders was uniquely positioned to reach voters with a different sensibility. In contrast to the millionaire polish of the Clinton camp, Sanders has a somewhat shambolic, grandfatherly presence that conveys an unpretentious and approachable character.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.