Why Hillary Clinton Is Not Entitled to Bernie Sanders’ Supporters

Written by Dominica R. Convertino


Throughout the last few weeks, mainstream media outlets and political pundits alike have incessantly derided the many supporters of Bernie Sanders who claim that they will not be voting for Hillary Clinton in November, should she win the Democratic nomination. Pundits argue that if they effectively fail to rally behind Hillary, Bernie’s supporters will be to blame in November if Donald Trump is subsequently elected. Here is why the pundits are definitively wrong, and why this rhetoric is not only misleading, but incredibly offensive to the democratic process:

First, let me preface this argument by pointing out that this entire debate over whether or not Bernie’s supporters should throw their weight behind Clinton in the general election is (intentionally) misleading, as it maintains an underlying assumption that Hillary Clinton is the inevitable Democratic nominee; an assumption that we have been force-fed for years by both the media and operatives of the Democratic Party. Despite the incredible efforts to push this narrative, millions of Americans continue to outright-reject the “inevitability” of Hillary Clinton, and have been doing so long before Bernie Sanders (who is undoubtedly an inspiring alternative to Clinton) stepped into the race. By focusing on whether or not the supporters of Bernie Sanders would be willing to vote for Hillary Clinton as a potential-nominee not only sets the stage for the media to act as if the primary race has somehow been decided, but it forces progressive figures (who otherwise wholeheartedly support Bernie Sanders in the primary) to needlessly pledge their support to Hillary Clinton for the general election, effectively shifting the narrative.

Rather than falling victim to this purposefully-deceptive framing that has been perpetuated by both the media and the Clinton campaign, voters must remember: we are not currently in a general election; we are in a primary election. Additionally, we are not currently deciding between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; we are currently deciding between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. So, it raises the question: why would any rational political observer believe that Bernie’s supporters should simultaneously pledge their hypothetical, future-support to the candidate who they are clearly trying to prevent?


Second, it is fallacious to assume that those who are claiming “Bernie or Bust” (i.e. those who refuse to rally behind Clinton if Bernie is not the nominee) are staunch Democrats to begin with. It is even more fallacious to believe that Hillary Clinton is somehow entitled to the support of Bernie’s voters, just by her very nature of running for President as a Democrat. Bernie is posing such a significant threat to Clinton and the Democratic Party establishment because of the fact that he is able to effectively accomplish something that Hillary Clinton has proven time and time again that she cannot: expanding the base of the Democratic Party. Throughout the last few months, it has become increasingly more clear that Bernie Sanders is succeeding precisely because he is bringing in new voters to the Democratic Party’s primary elections, including (but certainly not limited to) first-time voters, Independents, moderate Republicans, Civil Libertarians, Green Party voters, and the politically disenfranchised. It is arguable that these Bernie supporters, who by many accounts do not consider themselves to be bogged down by a staunch alignment to our two-party system (a trend that is becoming increasingly-popular amongst Americans) would not have been Clinton supporters in the first place. In fact, we now know that many of Bernie’s supporters would have instead opted out of voting in their state’s primary elections, had it not been for his presence in the race, which explains the record-breaking voter-turnout in many of the primary elections won by Bernie thus far, and the devastatingly low voter-turnout in the states won by Hillary.


Third, to say that Bernie’s supporters have an obligation to vote for Hillary Clinton in a general election assumes that the two candidates are advocating for the same things, which is objectively false. While Hillary has made it clear that the objective of her potential presidency would be to maintain already-existing policies, she has also made it clear that she is unwilling to fight for significant change, in order to avoid a “contentious debate” with her Republican counterparts. Hillary Clinton, despite all of her recent efforts to emulate Bernie Sanders’ unwavering record of advocating for the people, cannot get past the fact that she is, in many ways, the poster child for the corrupt system which Bernie is arguing to reform. In recent years, the American people have caught on to the fact that it is no longer just the Republican Party that participates in a corrupt political and financial system, but that establishment, corporate-funded Democrats like Hillary Clinton and the head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, are in many ways just as culpable in terms of perpetuating the existing-system of political corruption.

Lastly, rather than arguing for Bernie’s wide-range of political supporters to compromise on the most fundamental, uniting idea that they stand for in this election (changing the corrupt political/campaign finance system that plagues this nation — and all of the subsequent issues that occur precisely because of that corrupt system) by asking them to pledge support to Hillary Clinton, perhaps we should instead flip the script and ask Hillary Clinton supporters to grant their support to arguably the best Democratic candidate in modern political history, Bernie Sanders. Out of all of the candidates on both sides in this election, Bernie Sanders is unequivocally considered the most liked, the most electable, the most ideologically-consistent, and the biggest advocate for the interests of the American people. So, perhaps we should ask ourselves: why is the Democratic Party trying so hard to elect a candidate who the American people have so consistently and so resoundingly rejected, at the expense of a Democratic candidate who the people so desperately want? If the Democratic party establishment is unwilling to listen to the will of their voters, then they deserve the uncertainty that a Clinton nomination brings, for Hillary Clinton’s immeasurable weaknesses as a presidential candidate are not the fault of Bernie Sanders’ supporters, but her own.

Author: PoliticallyDC

Graduate of the University of Michigan, Dearborn, with a degree in Political Science and Pre-Law, and minors in Philosophy and Women and Gender Studies. Since graduating, I have decided to create my own progressively-minded opinion editorial, through which I can publish opinion pieces on the modern American political system.

37 thoughts on “Why Hillary Clinton Is Not Entitled to Bernie Sanders’ Supporters”

  1. Anyone who thinks these two candidates have that much in common should read:


    I like this article but there should be a couple more points that point to the DNC trying to undermine the democratic process. I am tired of being asked if “Hillary wins the democratic primary fair and square” would you vote for her? The problem with that is she can not win the nomination fair and square at this point. The DNC has done to much to poison the well, to many voters have already voted and there is no way to undo the harm they did. We can not vote for Trump but we cannot reward the DNC for preventing us from having a fair primary. Below is a list of the things the DNC did:

    1. The DNC deliberately hide the debates on days there was little likelihood of many people watching. This works in the favor of the better know candidate. The fact they wanted only 5 debates and forbid any non-DNC sanctioned debates also works in the favor of the better know candidate.

    2. The fact that the debates started 2 months after the republican debates. Again, trying to prevent people from getting to know a lesser known candidate.

    3. The fact they rolled back rules Obama placed on the DNC for using Super Packs so Hillary could raise more money.

    4. The fact that they pressured Joe Biden out of running because it was Hillary’s “turn”. While I am not a Joe Biden fan it tells us that the DNC expects to present people who call themselves Democrats with one choice, the one offered by Deborah Wasserman Schultz. This women is supporting Pay Day lenders over poor people. There is no reason I should vote for her choice.

    5. If people are to join or re-join the Democratic Party it has to stop being the party the is liberal on obvious social issues and just as bad or worse when selling out to corporate interests. They also need to stop calling income inequality “just one issue”, like it is a side issue. It is to rich democrats, not the rest of us. Also, Deborah Wasserman Schultz has to go.

    After being presented with a candidate like Bernie, how can you expect us to vote for a neo-liberal like Clinton. I have voted for the Democratic Party to long even though they promote policies that have hurt me.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Income/wealth inequality isn’t just an issue, it’s THE issue. As liberal as I am about things like equal rights and the environment (sorry safe spaces, you lose this round), there is no greater issue facing this country than income/wealth inequality. The rest of the issues are secondary. Why? A. People become bigots when poverty becomes rampant. This is not a new concept. It’s actually basic psychology. B. Whether you can get married or women do, or do not, get equal pay doesn’t matter in the slightest if you’re homeless or at-risk of being homeless. Especially when poverty wage jobs nearly invariably pay equally shitty.


  2. I have always been wondering about exactly this since the primaries began. It pains me to see how the very people that complain about the gov’t continue to elect terrible candidate. Obama was the best option we had in the last eight years, now the people are choosing Hillary?
    Really great article, and I hope people get informed and make the right choice.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yes, this is why the primaries are so crazy this year – people are starting to vote for the winner of the general election. They vote for Hillary under the false assumption he will beat Trump instead of voting for the primary candidate they want to see. It’s a very hard to see biased, but skews the democratic process! And the media with all their polls are basically the root.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brilliant article. Voting for Bernie is not a vote for the Democratic party and cannot/should not be transferred to Hillary as such. I’m hoping that if Hillary is winning the nomination that Bernie will switch and run as an Independent and knock her out. We don’t want you Hillary!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It not only frames Clinton as the winner already — something we rejected in 2008 — it assumes Trump will be the GOP nominee. It is not at all clear Trump will be chosen by the RNC. (Note how I worded that.)

    There is a reason you hear talk about beating Trump: that’s the only GOP candidate that Clinton polls well against. On the other hand, Sanders easily polls better than all of them. It seems foolish to try and nominate Clinton if you want to win the general election. He is a better choice without looking at the state and local elections that would be bolstered by a Sanders run. The composition of the house and state legislatures are important: both would be a littler bluer with a Sanders run.

    And let’s be absolutely clear: Clinton’s huge lead in delegates came exclusively from red states. In blue states, at best, you can say it’s been a toss-up. If she gets the nomination, it will be because of TN, MS, GA, SC, LA, and AK. There is no way they will yield a single electoral vote to her in the general election. It’s egregious to assess her support based on landslide victories in states that, to put it bluntly, don’t matter. (I say that as someone who lives in one of those states.)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great piece, Dominica- thank you. I’m fed up with Hillary supporters who are trying to shame & blame Bernie voters into declaring that they will vote for her in November. Their standard argument is that we cannot allow a Republican President the opportunity to define the Supreme Court. What they overlook is that Bernie Sanders is actually the stronger general election candidate because of his appeal to the huge independent voter demographic (43%) and the newly-registered youth. So if HRC supporters really want to insure that we have a Democrat in the White House, they need to sober up and start voting for Bernie.

    If Bernie is not the nominee, his supporters could still come to the polls in November and vote for progressive down-ballot candidates, which would be a great way to harness the energy of the Sanders movement. Another tactic that the Bernie campaign might consider is to show up at the convention in Philadelphia with a list of policy positions for the Party to consider. If Clinton and the party hierarchy blow off the progressive wing at the convention, they will be the ones with blood on their hands should Trump win.

    For me, the important thing is to avoid the Trap of Centrism, which is where the Democratic Party is stuck at the moment. The Republicans will surely continue to offer horrific candidates and bad policy choices, which creates a climate of fear on the Left– we are continually settling for corrupt and ineffective Democrats like HRC because we’re so afraid of the alternative. Long-term, this leads to the erosion of the Democratic Party base, and creates the space for more Trumps to arise. Continual compromise and accommodation leads to a bad outcome in the end. The whack jobs on the Right were successful in moving their party further right by drawing a line in the sand– the Left should take note. The only way to move the Democratic Party in a better direction is for progressives and independents to hold fast to their values and become such a significant % of the electorate that the Party cannot win without them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I WISH the DNC was centrist…they’re right of center quite a bit. Every time the Dems lose a race DWS thinks it’s time to move the party further right. The Democratic Party platform is now to the right of Nixon’s.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Bam !! These are the points I have been trying to express, thank you for doing so far more eloquently than I could. The best move to defeat Trump IF Hillary wins the nomination is one thing, the best move to defeat Trump TODAY is to support Bernie Sanders !

    Liked by 2 people

  8. My two cents worth: My two cents worth: To keep the GOP out of office and away from naming the next Supreme Courts justices, HRC will get many of Bernie’s supporters (without apology) whether she “deserves” them or not should she prevail as the DEM nominee. We won’t risk trashing our future and the many progressive issues we care about just to make a statement. Nader did that and we got Bush instead of Gore (after a lot of political GOP shenanigans)–something Nader has been criticized (and is sorry for) ever since. Please think about the social issues that DEMs espouse an support (human rights, marriage equality, overturn of Citizens United, anti- pro-rapist laws that have already happened in 31 GOP-controlled states.) Yellow Hair will be a disgrace. The other nations (our allies!) are mocking us for his place in the race! Children are getting scared and decrying his nastiness. Think about the consequences. I think you’ll agree with Bernie that “Hillary Clinton even on her worst day is better than any of the GOP candidates on their best day.” Our job is to move the ball forward (“the moral arc of the universe is long but it bends toward justice”–ML King Jr.) not to grab it and go home if the game starts going south!


    1. I say no. By comparison to policies that effect my family, Hillary is only a slightly less corrupt choice. A vote for corruption nonetheless, and equivalent to consent for corruption. I will not yield my vote for corruption, I do not consent to corruption. The DNC has literally alienated the core of their base for personal interests and gains. The duopoly has failed us again and again, and the only way to enact real change is to get involved and vote for the principles we care about in each candidate regardless of party affiliation. If the Democratic Party loses the White House, I will not shoulder the failures of DWS.

      Oh and Nader didn’t cost Gore the presidency, Fox News, Jeb Bush, and the conservative supreme court DID! 3% of the popular vote is all he got… that’s it. Quit avoiding the truth that when it comes down to it, the reality was G.W. cheated his way into the oval office twice. Once by political Theatre, and second by digital deception in Diebold ‘s rigged voting software.

      What you forget, is a concept Debbie Wasserman Schultz never understood from the beginning. A political party should never demand loyalty from their constituents, rather it is the constituents who deserve the loyalty of their party. Period. That is the path to success, reversing the equation leads to insurrection.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Nadar had nothing to do with Gore losing the election, he lost by more votes than Nadar got, he lost his home state, and mostly he lost because of Bush’s corrupt brother in Flordia. Hillary is just as corrupt – look at Nevada as the most recent example. Hillary on her best day is no better than a republican. Hillary will not overturn Citizen’s United, she benefits way too much for that. She will allow Keystone, she is no environmentalist. Wall Street will continue to function without restrictions. She will not move us forward, and I will not vote for her.


  9. Well said. Also, even if she is the nominee and you do know even now that you are going to vote for her no matter what (especially given what’s on the other side), why on earth, as a Bernie supporter, would you show your hand 8 months ahead of time? What incentive does it give the DNC to keep the rest of the contest fair? What leverage does it give you to push Hillary further to the left, closer to Bernie? To choose a true progressive as her running mate, instead of a centrist? To appoint real progressives to her team once in office?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Very very good article! I agree that it is Hills’ feelings of entitlement that I just cannot stomach!! And sometimes I think her followers are the ones who are pushing this hard. They believe that she is ‘entitled’ to the nomination. Let me be clear. She Is Not!!!!


  11. Reblogged this on Once Upon a Paradigm and commented:
    This is a thoughtful analyses of voters that don’t support Clinton. I am one of those voters. My reasons have nothing to do with Sanders though I am excited about him. I just don’t want the Clintons anywhere near the White House even if Sanders had not taken the leap.


  12. I’m in complete agreement with Dominica– it’s ridiculous for Bernie voters to promise their vote to HRC if she is the nominee. Using the fear of Trump to whip progressives into submission is exactly the kind of thing we should resist. Giving her our support without getting anything in exchange guarantees business as usual within the Democratic Party. If she wins the nomination, the Sanders campaign ought to present a list of progressive policy positions at the convention in Philadelphia. If Clinton blows off the progressives, then she doesn’t get our support. That is the only way to force the Party in a better direction– otherwise, we will be forever trapped in a situation where bad Democrats like HRC will be able to leverage fear of the GOP and use it to suppress the progressive agenda.

    The question that keeps popping up is, “Will you Bernie voters promise to vote for HRC if she is the nominee?” I would propose that a much better question would be– “Since Bernie is the stronger general election candidate, when are HRC supporters going to pull their head out of their ass and get behind the stronger nominee?”

    Liked by 1 person

  13. What is endlessly interesting to me as an Independent is the false reading of history and the belief that choosing the lessor of two evils is the same as choosing the good. Gore may well have won the popular vote, however, he was a lousy candidate who chose to concede the 2000 election when he decided not to continue the Florida vote recount and then the Supreme court handed it to Bush; neither of those fact were Nader fault. Rather than play the status quo political game, it might behoove Americans to one day actually vote for what they believe. I do not think the world will end if Trump is elected. I do not want a flaming bigot narcissist as our nation’s leader, but can Americans really not see the similarities between the duopoly of Republicans and Democrats? The Democratic Party establishment and all those who will vote for Hilary Clinton “if she is the nominee” are the ones to blame if (a) she loses the general election ~ which I believe she will as too may Independents do not want a Clinton in the White House/ running an administration ever again ~ and (b) if she wins and then enacts Republican policies as the centrist right Democrats always do.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “It is arguable that these Bernie supporters, who by many accounts do not consider themselves to be bogged down by a staunch alignment to our two-party system (a trend that is becoming increasingly-popular amongst Americans) would not have been Clinton supporters in the first place. In fact, we now know that many of Bernie’s supporters would have instead opted out of voting in their state’s primary elections, had it not been for his presence in the race, which explains the record-breaking voter-turnout in many of the primary elections won by Bernie thus far, and the devastatingly low voter-turnout in the states won by Hillary.”

    That sums it up. I don’t even think there is an argument since there is at least one, 1, person who feels that way and has proven the idea. Very well said.


  15. I was just thinking about this. With all the apparent election rigging going on the DNC if they are not actively involved has failed miserably at looking into those claims. Which is making many Bernie supporters pretty convince they are the ones responsible. The way I see it the one candidate that the RNC does not want to see gain the nomination of the DNC is Bernie Sanders he will work to raise the taxes back up to Eisenhower’s day which was down by 6% from FDR’s when he brought the USA out of the depression. Some people are afraid of this rise in taxes and I can understand that. However most people will be less affected than they think.
    If the RNC were somehow behind the voter/election fraud we are seeing then the DNC is making a big mistake by ignoring it since by doing so since it benefits their chosen Candidate they basically end up getting the blame for it and people start looking at the other radical candidate that is available.
    Now there is a lot at stake in this election one of which is the filling of at least one Supreme court office and possibly more in the future. I expect the RNC may feel that they could handle a Trump presidency a bit better than a Clinton one but I admit I could be wrong. They have been trying to keep that seat from being filled since they were hoping for good Republican win so that the seat could be filled with a more conservative candidate. The problem is as one meme I have seen suggests it is slightly possible that a democratic win could mean the seat might be filled with a former president. Admittedly that seems slight but there is an added twist here if the DNC does not pursue the charges of election fraud or tampering they feed into the republican hands in that people will be looking at the many people in congress who are up for re-election and they in the attitude they are currently in will likely be voting to clean the house and the senate of those people who have not been looking into the problems shown in this election.
    Clinton and the DNC have been effectively, with the help of mainstream media, been spitting in the Sanders’ supporters faces and now they want our vote? they have been saying that our vote is meaningless and now they want it for the general election? I suggest they go whistle in the wind for it as for me I will not be voting for Clinton nor for any of those supporting her.


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