Bernie Sanders supporters may not like Hillary Clinton, but she bets they hate Donald Trump even more!
Last Tuesday Bernie Sanders lost a tough primary race in Kentucky. With Hillary Clinton edging out the win, many are wondering if this will be the loss that makes Sanders bow out of the Democratic primaries (HINT: It won’t). Even though Sanders won the Oregon primary handily, with this Kentucky loss, he would need to win the remaining states in landslide fashion to even come close to winning the Democratic ticket. So in other words…
Yet, even with many Democrats calling for Sanders to step down, the Clinton campaign however has been surprisingly mute about the whole thing.
Some have said her silence has to do with the fact she battled now President Barack Obama late into the primary cycle back in 2008 and her campaign worries she would be labeled as a hypocrite to ask Sanders to bow out now. Others hypothesize that by having to battle Sanders all the way to the Democratic National Convention, she’ll take some media exposure away from Donald Trump. But we have a different perspective on the whole matter.
We not only think Clinton doesn’t mind that Sanders is continuing to stay in the Democratic primaries, but in fact she actively welcomes it! To understand our theory, you have to understand how much of a pain voter registration is in the US.
Voter registration, in no uncertain terms, is a cumbersome process. Even in the best case scenarios, individuals who want to be registered need to do it weeks before Election Day. Also to make matters worse, states have their own unique voter registration laws. Some sates in the past few election cycles have made it even harder for citizens to register due to the passing of new Voter ID laws. While supporters of these Voter ID laws claim they deter voter fraud, however research also shows they have the potential to disenfranchise minority and poor voters. In other words, these tough voter registration rules greatly hurt Democrats from coming to the polls on Election Day. So how does the Democratic Party – specifically the Clinton campaign – get potential voters, who may not be as knowledgeable with the registration process or look at themselves as Party Democrats, registered by Election Day?
That’s where Bernie Sanders comes in.
Even though Sanders got fewer votes than Clinton in the primaries, it’s been well documented that he has expanded the Democratic Party in ways Clinton could not. Many Sanders supporters tend to be Millennials (mostly college aged) and/or identify themselves as Independents, whereas Clinton supporters tend to be traditional Democratic voters that identify themselves as being part of the Democratic Party. This contrast in supporters is an important one.
Traditionally, Hillary Clinton has always had problems attracting those from the outside of the Democratic Party. Just look at her 2008 presidential run. While Clinton was able to attract Establishment Democrats to her campaign, Barack Obama was able to widen the party, bringing in more outsiders that would usually not identify themselves as a “Democrat.”
The same thing is happening in this election cycle.
As this poll from YouGov shows, Sanders supporters aren’t necessarily high on Clinton at the moment (just 38% have a favorable view of her). But the poll also shows that 55% of Sanders supporters would vote for Clinton over Trump in the general election. That’s the statistic the Clinton campaign is most interested in! Potentially over half of the Sanders supporters would vote for Clinton in a primary contest between her and Trump, making them essential if she wants to win the general election. It’s similar to the strategy Obama used in 2008, when he eventually clinched the nomination in 2008, he was able to expand his voting base by attracting traditional Democrats and self-identifying independents to his campaign.
So what does this have to do with the Clinton campaign wanting Bernie Sanders to stay in the primaries as long as possible?
Considering Sanders supporters aren’t traditional Party Democrats, it’s easy to see when it comes to registering for the general election, having Clinton herself persuade them to the polls could be tough. However if they were already registered, all Clinton would have to do is make sure they come to the polls on Election Day! One of the biggest barriers for many who aren’t affiliated with the Republican or Democratic Party is the act of registering to vote. But if they were already registered as a Democrat since they voted for Sanders in the primaries, getting them to come on Election Day would be a lot easier!
So for the Clinton campaign, considering she looks to be the presumptive candidate of the Democratic Party, why not have the Sanders campaign help register potential Clinton supporters come November? That means Sanders continuing to campaign in primary states like Oregon and California could gain more potential voters for Clinton come November, when compared to if he dropped out of the campaign before these states held their primaries.
While this is a bit of a gamble, considering some Sanders supporters have started a narrative in which the primary process is rigged to push Clinton, the general consensus looks to be that Sanders supporters may look at Clinton unfavorably, but they HATE Trump even more and would vote for Clinton to block from Trump getting the presidency.
The idea for the Clinton campaign is simple, get them registered and worry about the rest later.
(Photo Credits: BernieSanders Instagram, Google Images)