A new poll has found a majority of Bernie Sanders supporters would support Hillary Clinton if he dropped out of the race. Amid increasingly demagogic rhetoric from the Republican field of candidates, as well as a dearth of Democratic nominees, it is unsurprising that left-leaning voters would opt for Clinton should Sanders halt his campaign. However, this potential support directly defies the very principles Sanders has earned passionate support for espousing.
The poll, conducted by Monmouth University, surveyed 1,006 registered voters from December 10-13, drawing data from 374 Democratic voters and voters who lean toward the Democratic party. Though the sample size was relatively small, it revealed a disturbing sentiment.
Bernie Sanders has long been viewed as an anti-establishment candidate and is most revered for his outspoken goal of breaking up big banks. Though Clinton’s policies and priorities are diametrically opposed to this proposed noble undertaking, 59% of Bernie Supporters would “be okay” with her nomination.
This acceptance of Clinton’s hegemony is ultimately unsurprising, considering Sanders has generally refused to criticize the leading Democratic candidate. Though last month the New York Times reported Sanders was prepping to hit Hillary on “trade, gun control, and even the controversy over her State Department email” in their upcoming debate, he has shied away from exposing the foundations of her establishment agenda.
Though Sanders has made battling the power of the banking elite a cornerstone of his presidential campaign, he has failed to significantly criticize Clinton for her deep ties to banking corporations. In fact, his campaign abruptly pulled an internet advertisement that attacked Clinton for her “big money interests.”
Clinton has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America for the 2016 cycle, alone. Over the course of her career, she has accepted donations from Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Citigroup, and the Credit Suisse Group.
She has also accepted funds via the Clinton Foundation. As the New York Times reported in July:
“As Mrs. Clinton, in the early days of her campaign, called for prosecuting executives and companies for Wall Street crimes, the financial services industry continued to support the Clinton Foundation. Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and J. P. Morgan Chase & Co. — all of which had given before, either directly or through their own foundations — made new contributions.” She has also gone to bat for financial donors to the Clinton Foundation.
As Politico noted:
“Many of the rich and powerful in the financial industry — among them, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman, Tom Nides, a powerful vice chairman at Morgan Stanley, and the heads of JPMorganChase and Bank of America — consider Clinton a pragmatic problem-solver not prone to populist rhetoric. To them, she’s someone who gets the idea that we all benefit if Wall Street and American business thrive. What about her forays into fiery rhetoric? They dismiss it quickly as political maneuvers. None of them think she really means her populism.”
Aside from her allegiance to the banking cartels, Clinton has also embraced rampant corporatism in other industries. She is the top recipient of donations from weapons manufacturers — surpassing every single Republican candidate. Sanders, incidentally, came in 6th, ahead of Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Santorum, among others, though the smaller Democratic field may account for the willingness of weapons companies to throw donations his way. Clinton has also accepted donations from corrupt, repressive regimes around the world in exchange for arms deals, courtesy of Boeing — whose PAC and employees have also donated to Sanders.
In spite of the fact that Hillary’s policies directly defy the fundamental goals of Sanders’ campaign, however, his supporters appear content to accept her though she violates the core of their beliefs. Democrats in general are even more enthusiastic about her potential presidency.
Democrats surveyed in the Monmouth poll harbored deep support for Clinton; 22% of respondents said they would “enthusiastically” support her while 58% said they would be “satisfied” if she were to become the Democratic candidate — totaling 80% of Democrats who would positively embrace Clinton as the nominee. This support is concerning, especially considering that according to the same poll, Democrats rate the economy and jobs as their biggest concern — while they simultaneously place faith in the candidate with the strongest reputation for favoring the economic interests of corporations over constituents.
The cognitive dissonance driving the left’s support for Hillary — who, according to the Monmouth poll currently enjoys 59% of support from Democrats nationwide — is likely largely a result of the left’s fear of Donald Trump and other Republican candidates. While the Right’s offerings are certainly terrifying, however, this fear encourages the left to ignore Clinton’s policies, which are hardly different from the right-wingers her supporters oppose. As a recent paper by two political scientists from Emory University explained, “Regardless of the strength of their attachment to their own party, the more voters dislike the opposing party, the greater the probability that they will vote consistently for their own party’s candidates.”
Whether left-leaning voters currently support Clinton or Sanders, both camps appear willing to shirk principle for the sake of disempowering “the other” — even if the prevailing candidate aligns neatly with the loathed Right.