Why it was important for Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton to publicly mend bridges before the Democratic Convention.
We should be clear on this. Bernie Sanders was always going to endorse Hillary Clinton once it became inevitable that she was going to be the 2016 Democratic nominee. The question was never about “if”, it was always about “when.” So when Sanders officially endorsed Clinton today, it surprised no one.
Then again, not all Sanders supporters were taking the endorsement in stride.
The Farce Is Complete pic.twitter.com/hskiMafDLS
— Liberals ≠ The Left (@pwr_to_the_ppl) July 12, 2016
— Cathy (@Fanny57) July 12, 2016
Still, Sanders putting his weight behind Clinton was important for a multitude of reasons.
- Party Unity Before the Democratic Convention: As you may know, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) is less than two weeks away. For both Sanders and Clinton to unify the Democratic Party before then, Sanders had to officially endorse (ie concede) before the convention. What the Democrats did not want was disunity of their party on primetime television. Political conventions are like pep rallies, if people start chanting a different name or worse, openly booing a candidate; that would destroy the main reason of having the convention in the first place. So Sanders’ endorsement was a necessity. As reports of party disunity come from their Republican counterparts as they create their party platform, it’s important to show party unity at the DNC in hopes of carrying that momentum to November. Even if there are some disagreements, they should keep it in the family. So to speak.
- The Third Party Factor: It’s hard to deny that some Sanders supporters are feeling a little cheated today. We’ve said it before; the end of a political campaign is always the toughest. Today was no exception. It’s only natural for Sanders supporters to feel frustrated. The question becomes whether they now turn towards Clinton or a third-party candidate like the Green Party’s Jill Stein or the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson. Sanders has definitely expanded potential Democratic voters in 2016, but the bigger question remains; who will the base vote for? While it’s an easy bet that a majority of them will eventually vote for Clinton come November, candidates like Stein and Johnson know that there is a sense of dissatisfaction among Sanders voters at the moment. Both will most definitely try and capitalize on that in the coming days.
- Sanders Can Talk to His Supporters the Best: While Sanders supporters are fiercely loyal, they’re also known to be wary of all things “Establishment” and Hillary Clinton is most definitely an “Establishment” figure. With the narrative of Sanders’ campaign being anti-Establishment, Clinton by herself would have little to no chance of attracting Sanders supporters. Even though you can make the argument that her stances on most major policies overlap with Sanders’, Clinton has always had trouble attracting those on the fence to her cause. Sanders however might be able to make the case for her. Of course this all depends on how hard he’s willing to campaign for Clinton in the coming months, but if he’s willing to give the usual stump speech to his supporters, then it’s hard to see today’s political marriage being anything but fruitful for Democrats come November.
(Photo Credit: Hillary Clinton’s Twitter)