Bernie or Bust

What's happening?

Despite Hillary Clinton's official acceptance of the Democratic nomination for president, some Bernie Sanders supporters are reluctant to vote for her. Some have pledged never to support her, calling their decision "Bernie or Bust."

 

Sanders himself does not support "Bernie or Bust," saying to rally-goers who booed his Clinton endorsement, "It's easy to boo. But it is harder to look your kids in the face who will be living under a Donald Trump presidency."

Why is it important?

"Bernie or Bust" highlights an important reality: Sanders supporters are key to a Clinton victory over Donald Trump. And as of now, it's unclear how many of them will come to the polls on election day.

 

A recent Pew Research poll showed that 90% of Sanders voters say they would back Clinton. But those numbers are a bit misleading. In the study, Sanders voters are forced to choose between Clinton and Trump without the option to vote for the third party candidates (Gary Johnson and Jill Stein)—or not to vote at all. Some polls show up to 30% would choose one of these latter options, which makes sense given that many Sanders supporters are independents or disaffected with the Democratic party. Add the fact that Sanders supporters are fairly infrequent voters in the first place (even controlling for age), and the risk that they do not vote for Clinton gets even higher.

Art by Luna Adler. See more of her work with The Short Version, her website, and her Instagram.

Debate it!

Should Bernie Sanders supporters vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election?

Yes:

There are only two reasons for a Bernie supporter not voting for Hillary Clinton on November 8th: you are either privileged enough to gamble a Trump presidency to prove a point, or you are misguided enough to believe that point is worth more than the American lives and livelihoods at stake.

 

Sanders himself argues that the only way to continue his political movement is to ensure Clinton becomes president and then push her to the left. And Trump, in Bernie's words, is "contrary to everything we stand for." Listen to him.

 

Sanders and Clinton voted together in the Senate 93.1% of the time and continue to agree on key issues like overturning Citizens United, supporting immigration reforms, fighting for gun control, making healthcare more affordable, and more. Trump opposes them all.

 

Do not choose a philosophical and politically impractical point over real policy that could help millions. Use your vote to improve lives, better the country, and protect against bigotry by electing Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

No: 

It's time to stop voting for the lesser of two evils. If you believe Hillary Clinton is "the lesser evil," don't vote for her.

 

Bernie Sanders began a movement that galvanized voters on the left by directly speaking to their concerns. Though he did not win the nomination, we can still put more pressure on the Democratic party from the left and demand candidates willing to champion progressive values—as Bernie Sanders did. We have to start now.

 

Refusing to vote for Hillary Clinton is not the same as voting for Trump. To claim such a thing is to deny the value of voting itself. Candidates need to earn our votes and, for many reasons, Clinton has not. 

 

Those reasons vary (and vary in importance) to each individual voter. They include a $15 minimum wage, expanding executive actions on immigration, tuition-free public college, and more.

 

If these issues concern you and you do not find Hillary Clinton's plan satisfactory, vote your conscience in November.

Learn more...

  1. Sanders' comments on "Bernie or Bust"
    • "You're going to end up having a choice. Either Hillary Clinton is going to become president, or Donald Trump."
  2. Sanders' speech endorsing Hillary Clinton
    • "There is no doubt in my mind that as we head into November, Hillary Clinton is far and away the best candidate."
  3. FiveThirtyEight on the importance of Sanders supporters to a Clinton win
    • "If Clinton wins over those voters, she’ll gain a few percentage points on Trump in national and swing state polls, and the race will potentially look more like it did in March and April, with Clinton having a fairly comfortable lead over Trump. If not, the general election could come down to the wire."
  4. Sanders and Clinton on the issues
    • "On many issues, Clinton and Sanders aren't that far apart."