Over the last eight months, Vermont Senator and self-avowed socialist Bernie Sanders has built a leftist movement whose size probably surprised him more than anyone. Regarded as having about as good a chance at the nomination as Martin O’Malley, Sanders – at 74 years of age – became an unlikely figure of inspiration to millions of millennial voters. And despite having the odds stacked against him, he managed to give Hillary Clinton a run for her money.
Hillary hoped that when it was all said and done, Bernie would reach out to his fervent supporters and convince them to vote for her in November. To make sure this played out, she gave the Sanders team an extraordinary amount of input into the official Democratic platform and moved to embrace some of his more extreme proposals such as free college and a $15 an hour minimum wage. After some deliberate stalling, Sanders gave her what she wanted. Last week, he endorsed her for president, putting talks of a contested convention to an end.
Unfortunately for Hillary, Bernie’s fans might not be in the listening mood.
“Hell no, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary,” protesters shouted on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Others took a page from the Republican playbook, chanting, “Lock her up!”
And when Sanders and his ideological twin, Elizabeth Warren, addressed the delegates, they were often booed. It would appear, at this precarious point in time, that these people will be much quicker to reject their leaders than to join the Hillary camp.
Of course, this result was inevitable after leaked emails proved that Sanders and his supporters were right all along: The Democratic Party was dead-set against having him be the nominee. While nothing in the emails suggests that the DNC actually broke the rules in aiding Clinton, several of them show officials mocking and disdaining him and his supporters.
There are more differences than similarities when it comes to Sanders and Donald Trump, but there are things that unite the two movements: a deep loathing for Washington corruption and a penetrating suspicion of establishment figures in both parties among them.
Going into an election where one of the candidates is Hillary Clinton, Sanders’ supporters may have no choice but to throw their vote to The Donald.
Feel the Bern, indeed.