Will Sanders Supporters Stay Home in November? Yes. Will it Be Sour Grapes? No.


For months now, the Ready for Hillary crowd has been berating Sanders supporters about their votes in November. “Remember 2000!” “Do you really want President Trump?” “What about the Supreme Court?” And those are the less offensive arguments. What the Hillary supporters really think is that it’s just sour grapes for any Sanders supporter who won’t vote for Hillary.

Part of the problem, of course, is that they themselves are so fond of Hillary they can’t relate to how repulsive Hillary is to many Sanders supporters.

But put that aside.

There are two subgroups of Sanders supporters who likely will stay home or vote Green in November: the “wasn’t ready for Hillary anyhow” crowd and the “Democratic establishment needs to pay a price” crowd. I’m a member of the first group, but, if I weren’t, I might well be a member of the second.

The “wasn’t ready for Hillary anyhow” crowd had no intention of voting for her in the general even when she appeared to be a lock to win the nomination — that is, before Sanders entered the race. She was just too distasteful. Personally, I didn’t need a Bernie Sanders candidacy to figure out that Clinton was a bank-owned, war mongering shape shifter whose sole reason for running for President is that she wants to be President. I think she’ll be a disaster as President and have no desire to be complicit in putting her in office. Do others feel the same way? Absolutely. But we’re not the only members of this crowd. Some folks in the “wasn’t ready for Hillary anyhow” crowd simply don’t find her inspiring enough to go out and vote for her. She just doesn’t motivate them the way Bernie does.

The “Democratic establishment needs to pay a price” crowd might have voted for Hillary, but they have trouble with the manipulations by Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and others to tilt the playing field substantially in Hillary’s favor. Their intention not to support Hillary is not sour grapes. Rather, it’s a rational feeling that if the actions of the Democratic establishment does not cost its candidate any votes in the general, there’s no logical reason why the same thing won’t happen in 2020 or 2024.

This reality is causing Hillary supporters to set their hair on fire, as they fear it will lead us to a President Trump or President Cruz. The hostility to Sanders’ supporters, and even Sanders himself, is palpable, including on the pages of this blog.

But they needn’t feel so angry. When Sanders blew it back in July at Netroots Nation, I was rather brutal in my criticism of him, even though I support him. Turns out, my criticism was dead on. By not being more receptive to the BLM protestors, he threw away an opportunity to make huge gains with Black voters. The failure to make those gains has haunted him throughout the primaries, especially in the South.

Sanders, however, is not the only candidate who has stumbled in this primary season. They all have, including Hillary. Her supporters should recognize first that she’ll likely win in November even without the help of many Sanders supporters. But, if she loses, they need to recognize that it will be because of her own shortcomings and stumbles, not anything Bernie Sanders or his supporters did or didn’t do. Whether illegal or not, Hillary’s decision to house government communications on her own server was moronic. It will cost her votes, for which she has only herself to blame. Similarly, her decision to keep the content of her speeches to Goldman Sachs a secret was her own. It also will cost her votes, as will her rant at the AIPAC Convention this week and her repeated failures to rein Wasserman-Schultz in.

I’ve received plenty of heat for my intention to vote for Jill Stein if Sanders is not the Democratic nominee. I’ve had dweebs I worked with decades ago use the comment section to explain to me how much I don’t know about politics. I even had the concern expressed to me on Facebook that I could cause Clinton to lose Ohio, since I’m so widely followed.

All that criticism woefully misses the mark. Clinton has not won my vote. If I were an average American who is guided exclusively by 30 second TV spots and water cooler conversation, that might not be true. And perhaps that will change between now and November. If it doesn’t, it’s not my shortcoming. It’s hers. Just as it was Bernie’s shortcoming that he couldn’t get Donna Gratehouse to support him. And, yes, as it was Al Gore’s shortcoming that he couldn’t win the votes of a handful of Nader voters in Florida.


  1. petty. irresponsible. appalling. I voted for Bernie in the primary.
    I will gladly cast my vote for the Democratic nominee in the fall.

  2. Sorry, Bob. Jill Stein is a lightweight, and, to my knowledge, has never won a single election. Not even for dog-catcher. I have heard her interviewed and am not impressed. Sure, she may be a brilliant physician, but so, allegedly, is Ben Carson.

    In my opinion, you are most definitely on the wrong side of history. One of two candidates will win the WH in November. This individual will undoubtedly appoint at least two, possibly three people to SCOTUS. Even on a bad day, Hillary Clinton might nominate a Merrick Garland. Anyone she picks will be far, far superior than Rafael Cruz of Donald Drumpf would stick us with. If that doesn’t make you think, I don’t know what will.

    Bob, I think you do great work , but I cannot agree with you. As someone else pointed out, unless we take over state governments and Congress, even Bernie, as wonderful as he is, will be hamstringed. More so than Obama, because Sanders does not have the legal training our current POTUS has. Didn’t many of you think Obama was going to be the great savior?

    I tend to think of the Bernie-or -bust people and the Greens as “wet-dreamers” with an image of purity that will never be actualized in reality.
    Thank God I have options to work overseas if need be if the unthinkable happens.

    • The wrong side of history? Really? When it’s the truth-teller vs the superpaccing Triangulator? After watching the Economic Royalists rip the factories and jobs out of this country after the War Profiteer segment of those Royalists assassinated JFK and RFK, I’d really rather be casting my vote for a human being (Bernie) willing to put his life on the line by trying to educate the US electorate about the REAL downfall this country has already been through. And willing to state what it really will take — a political revolution to start turning this ship of state onto better course for all of us.

      As JFK stated: “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” (Also, see Thomas Jefferson’s thoughts on the topic, stating exactly the same thesis). So, the sooner we get this revolution under way the less time the underlying boil has to fester and the less pain we will have to suffer to actually get our country back from those that are stealing it from us, using the . The USA is at least 40 years behind in denouncing the Lewis F. Powell memo that gave the John Birchers and the ultra-rich elite the road map to taking our government away from we the people.

      • Great JFK quote, Tim.

        I found the “wrong side of history” characterization wrong for similar reasons. Chris Hedges is the canary in the coal mine on this front. He’s been warning us that if the left keeps producing Clinton-esque elected leaders who do nothing to alleviate the suffering of the masses, people eventually will turn to a right-wing populist. Trump is a giant warning sign. What we see in 2020 or 2024 could be way worse.

        • Yeah Bob. Hitler rose from similar circumstances after WWI when the masses were economically crushed by the “Allies” and the Treaty of Versailles — and we all know what that led to — the largest “revolution” the world has seen (up to this time) in the way of WWII.

          That quote from JFK is contained in Tom Hartmann’s book “The Crash of 2016”. I don’t know if you’ve read it yet, but if not I will recommend it.

          He lays out a compelling case that the USA is entering it’s 4th cycle of revolution (war), reformation, and repression since the founding of our country. In the past, I’ve found Mr. Hartmann to lay out quite logical arguments for his case(s). And when arguing with right wing nut jobs, he just lets them continue on their fact free way without ever getting too perturbed and raising his voice. It’s almost as if he’s done it so many times already that he’s just not going to waste the time or breath to convince them of their illogical views.

          Currently reading “JFK and the Unspeakable” by James W. Douglass and it certainly comports with my views of who assassinated JFK and RFK and why they did it. — I was convinced those views were correct within 2 years after the assassination when my friends and classmates were volunteering and/or getting drafted to serve in Vietnam — and getting killed.

          In 1963 I knew for a fact that LBJ was the biggest snake in the grass to ever crawl out of Texas and I wasn’t about to go to a war that he had instigated. Thank goodness with college/industry/dependents deferrals I managed to avoid it altogether.

  3. If I lived in a swing state, which I do not, I would vote for the lesser of two evils in a Clinton/Trump match up. I cannot predict what either of these two would do as POTUS, and I really can’t provide evidence that Hillary is the lesser. I am just hoping she is the lesser because she is a Democrat and I would have to vote for her if I lived in Ohio, Florida, etc…

    I believe that Arizona will be as red as usual in November regardless of who the GOP nominee is going to be. I’ll watch the polls and read Nate Silver until the last minute, and I fully believe I will not be voting for Hillary. I lived in CA in 92 and 96 and did not vote for Hillary’s husband either.

    The only Bernie supporters who have to make what many consider to be a moral decision to eliminate the worst of the two candidates are the ones who live in the swing states and that information as to which states are swing states is available shortly before the decision has to be made.

  4. If Sanders supporters choose to cut off their noses to spite their faces then let it be so. They can always stand on the hill top and claim they didnt vote as they watch Rome burn. Such principal!

    Listen, I can respect your point here Bob and you do not have to vote Hillary just because you are a Liberal. Frankly I can see how you see it being worthless due to your set of beliefs. My question is who do you vote for then down the ticket? I hope you and your fellow supporters at least head to the polls and try to change things locally and in congress. To just pout and take your ball home will only allow for things to continue as they are and the type of change you want will never come. Remember, it wouldn’t matter if Sanders wound up winning if he can’t get things through congress or the courts strike all his agenda down.

  5. It’s neat how no one in the comments is attacking Bob’s tone or writing style, despite the way he’s expressing his dislike for Hillary Clinton very forcefully and imputing some very sinister motives to her. Almost like it’s a double standard or something…

    • But check out my fourth to last paragraph, Donna, where I was sharply critical of Sanders. Back at the time, I wrote a series of fairly caustic posts expressing disappointment, much to the dismay of Sanders supporters. I also went after him for not owning up to a terrible vote on the gun industry exemption and for being ill-prepared to debate foreign policy.

      And there have been numerous times when I’ve openly eaten crow for bad predictions or other errors of judgment here. In that regard, check out my response to captain arizona’s comment to this post, where I acknowledge mis-titling my post.

      So, maybe it’s the objectivity and self-deprecation, rather than my gender, that allows me to avoid harsh criticism for tone or style. Maybe that’s why the conservative commenters on this site are more receptive to me than they are to other posters here who are not nearly as far to the left in perspective as I.

      Besides, I’ve taken plenty of heat for my views and my style, both here and on Facebook. It comes with the territory.

  6. Sometimes you just have to hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. I realize it’s sad that it’s come to that, but it’s our current reality. In my opinion, if Hillary is the nominee and you vote for anyone else, you are in essence voting for Trump (or Cruz, or whoever they end up putting up). That seems counter productive to me.

    • I understand your logic, which I think you must know I’ve heard about 1000 times before, but it’s not the only logic. At some point, the cycle of bad candidates and a political party that stands for nothing other than winning elections with candidates backed by monied interests has to be broken. Yeah, President Trump in 2016 would suck, but President Worse Than Trump in 2020 would suck worse.

      • Trump in 2016 won’t overturn Citizens United, it would put off fighting climate change another 4 plus years, it wouldn’t steem inequality, it would probably get us back into another war, we’d be stuck with another lifetime appointment or 3 to SCOTUS, but I guess you’d still have your principles.

        • Other than the Supreme Court appointment, Clinton poses the same problems. But you’re missing my point. There always will be a short-term concern justifying your position. The problem is that by prioritizing that short-term concern, you’ll never address the long-term problem. You’ll continue to elect Democrats who allow the problems, especially inequality, to fester, with the populace growing more and more dissatisfied each election cycle, until they ultimately turn to a monster far worse than Trump.

          As I said before, I’m not saying your logic is wrong, just that it’s validity is not beyond dispute. There are real trade-offs here. If you want to believe you’re absolutely correct beyond a shadow of a doubt, you’re free to do so, but you’re not going to prove that to me. In my mind, there are very few absolutes in this world, and the logic behind supporting Hillary Clinton for President is not one of them. Sorry to disappoint you.

          • I’m guessing Bernie Sanders would not agree with you. In fact, I’m guessing that if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, Bernie will endorse and campaign for her.

  7. Wait . . . the Democratic Party chose to keep Independents from voting in the primary? Hmm. I guess that sounds just about right. That’s what our Arizona Dem Party has become: worthless, gutless, and toothless.

    By the way, thanks for this blog post. I’m a Sanders supporter, and I just cannot bring myself to support Hillary.

  8. bob why would they stay home when they can vote green and a small number would vote for trump. it turns out that it is not the evil republican state legislature theta prevents independents from voting in democratic presidential primary it is the state democratic party that says no to independents voting.

    • I mis-titled the post. You’re right. They logically should vote Green.

      However, if none of the candidates put in front of a voter are ones they would like to see in office, are they wrong for not voting?

      Yeah, I was kind of floored as well to find out it was the Dem Party that chose to lock indies out.

      • Bob, I’ve been speaking to several voters here in Pima County, and those who are not Hillary supporters are saying just that — they will either not vote for her (leave it blank) if Bernie loses, or will vote Green. When U.S. Presidential Green candidate Jill Stein was here in Tucson at the Historic Y (YMCA) on March 10, she said that the Bernie supporters needed to think of Plan B.

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