The Bernie and Bust Movement Grows


Passionate supporters of Bernie Sanders are proving that the Bernie and Bust movement is alive and well, even in the era of a Trump presidency. Donald Trump is ranked as the 3rdmost hated president, according to the Siena College Research Institute’s (SCRI) Survey of U.S. Presidents (2019 Siena survey), which was founded in 1982 and began reviewing all of the nation’s presidents in. Those who support Bernie Sanders claim to have valid reasons for their ongoing “Bernie or Bust” philosophy- citing everything from corporate corruption influencing the media, to the need for Medicare for All and a president who will truly address climate catastrophe. The surprising part, Sander’s supporters may be more passionate about the philosophy than Bernie himself!

How Bernie and Bust Started

After the Bernie or Bust concept was introduced in by Victor Tiffany, as a potentially viable political strategy, it gathered steam and followers during the 2016 primary election process. Primarily, the strategy rose to prominence amongst a select group of Sanders’ supporters, many were angry at the DNC’s (Democratic National Committee) preferential treatment toward Hillary Clinton. One source of contention was the DNC’s additional agreement with the Clinton campaignand the party’s superdelegate system. That system allowed superdelegates to be pledged to any candidate and announced in advance of primary election results, the Democratic National Convention,and not tied to state primary and caucus results.

Proponents of Bernie or Bust agreed to list Sanders as a write-in candidate, vote 3rdparty, or not vote at all in the general election. Additionally, an estimated 6-12% of Sanders supporters voted for Trump. Although disgruntled Clinton supporters theorized that this may have had a “spoiler effect” resulting in Trump being elected, the numbers dispute the assumption. In reality, those who didn’t vote for anyone (about 30%of registered Americans) may have the biggest impact of all, with non-voters effectively handing Trump his presidency.  Political analyst Brian Schaffner told NPR that 12% of Republican primary votes also went to Clinton that year (which is as much or more than the number of Sanders’ supporters who voted for Trump). Moreover, 12% is less than the 25% of Clinton voters, during the Obama vs. Clinton primary election, who ended up voting for John McCain according to a 2008 study.

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A New Take on Bernie or Bust

While Sanders insists that he “fully expects” the DNC to be fair throughout the current primary election process, the same cannot be said for the media. CNN has been called out by Vox for their negative Bernie slant, while MSNBC has received more than a few accusations that they are pushing for Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden. In the case of MSNBC, the news channel has presented candidate graphics which exclude Sanders and others which list Sanders at a lower polling level, even when his numerical percentage of support shows otherwise. Sanders had this to say, in New Hampshire, “I wonder why the Washington Post — which is owned by Jeff Bezos, who owns Amazon — doesn’t write particularly good articles about me.”

Current Bernie and Bust followers are discussing a Bernie and Bust 2.0 approach and how to make a relevant case for the 2020 election. Many have attributed rampant media bias as part of their motivation to carry on their philosophies. Another frequently expressed concern is that imminent climate catastrophe is a timely reason why they cannot accept a corporate controlled media to determine so much of our political process. At a time when scientists believe we may have as little as 18 months for governments to determine a timeline for major climate related changes, many Bernie supporters mimic the beliefs of California constituent Elizabeth D., who say she is “concerned about Biden’s political stance on issues like healthcare” and Warren’s “lack of a plan” equal to Sander’s comprehensive Green New Deal. Elizabeth Warren has stated that she will use corporate and super PAC funds, should she be the chosen candidate in the 2020 presidential election. Warren recently received pushback for hiring a lobbyist to head up her campaign directly after declaring a war on lobbying.

If you are a supporter of the movement, consider yourself similar to 25k members in one Facebook Bernie or Bust group, who believe Bernie has the integrity to take on the top 1% and create fundamental change. Meanwhile, if you are a Sanders supporter who believes that anyone to the left of the political spectrum should vote blue in the general election, lest they be responsible for Trump receiving another 4 year term, you might want to encourage your non-voter friends and family to vote. The current count for non-voters ranges as high as 100 million in the 2016 U.S. election.  Sanders has continually polled as the most likely choice to defeat Trump in the general election.