By Robert A. Vella
In a new Bloomberg Politics poll conducted on June 14th, only 55% of Bernie Sanders supporters plan to vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton in November. A further 5% said they might consider voting for her in the future. 22% said they are going to vote for Republican Donald Trump, and 18% favor Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.
I’m a little skeptical of this poll because it didn’t mention those Sanders supporters who plan to vote for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, those who won’t choose any presidential candidate on the ballot, or those who might not vote at all. However, it does appear to justify a centrist strategy for Clinton because aggregate polling over the last two weeks show her with substantial leads over Trump. If this decisive margin is not coming from the political left (i.e. Sanders supporters), it must be coming from moderates and from Republican voters turned-off by the divisive Mr. Trump.
A centrist course for Clinton would seem fitting even considering the anti-establishment climate gripping the nation. First, she got very lucky when Trump won the GOP primaries. Second, enough Sanders supporters weren’t going to vote for her even if she ran to the left because they simply don’t trust her. Third, and most important, Hillary and the Democratic Party leadership abandoned the progressive base now supporting Sanders a long time ago (see: Thomas Frank on Clinton & Democratic Establishment: What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?).
Still, this snapshot of the American electorate only reflects their current mood which is likely to shift many times between now and November, and the upcoming events that will shape it have yet to unfold.