Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has passionate grassroots support. So passionate that a portion of his fans said they would sooner vote for GOP candidate Donald Trump than the alternative Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Sanders’ supporters have been vocally frustrated by the Democratic primary, a number of them accusing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida of rigging the process in favor of Clinton.
While most Sanders supporters have said they would support Clinton should she become the nominee, groups such as Grassroots Action for Bernie have pledged to vote only for the Vermont senator or no one at all, The Huffington Post reports.
“I will never support Hillary Clinton,” Adam Burch, 28, of Minneapolis, said. “I identify as a socialist. She stands for everything that I’m against. It’s Bernie or nothing.”
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Some have even said they would sooner vote for Trump before supporting Clinton.
“I would vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in a heartbeat,” Patt Coltem, 60, of St. Paul, Minnesota, said. “She’s just too shady. She’s a pathological liar.”
One source of anger has been the Democratic primary process of superdelegates — party leaders and elected officials whose personal vote accounts for 15 percent of the primary delegates. The superdelegates have been overwhelmingly casting their vote for Clinton.
A number of superdelegates have reportedly received aggressive messages from Sanders’ supporters, The New York Post reports.
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Superdelegate Akilah Ensley of North Carolina said that “some of them were nice, and some were rather abrasive.”
Superdelegate Luis Heredia of Arizona offered a less flattering assessment, saying that “the majority of them are more angry, and the tone is more demanding.”
Sanders' campaign spokesman said they do not support those trying to intimidate the superdelegate voting bloc.
This has not stopped some of Sanders’ fans from verbally attacking members of the Democratic leadership who do not support their candidates’ vision for campaign finance reform and democratic socialist programs.
When Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — a beloved figure among many progressives — declined to endorse Sanders ahead of her state’s primary on March 1, her Facebook page was flooded with angry messages, Raw Story reports.
“I have lost faith in you and the DNC,” one Facebook user wrote.
Several Sanders supporters accused Warren of colluding with Clinton and betraying the progressive cause.
“Warren is a wuss,” another user wrote. “Her silence will not be forgotten.”
The GOP primary has been marked as an uprising of new Republican voters turning away from the party establishment. This zeitgeist has not been as dramatic in the Democratic race, but some voters have made it clear that they will vote for dramatic change or not vote at all.