Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Return of the Cats

One of the interesting questions of this Presidential campaign season has to do with supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders: If the Senator doesn't win the Democratic Party's nomination, will his supporters vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election? Conventional wisdom says that some number of them will not vote for Mrs. Clinton, whether this means voting for another candidate or simply abstaining altogether. So then it comes down to a matter of how many.

There is a camp that compares the die-hard Sanders supporters to the PUMA movement of the 2008 Presidential election. While a loud segment of that group made a lot of noise that they'd rather vote for anyone other than Senator Obama, in the end, if any of them did vote otherwise, the numbers were small.

On the other hand, there is the realization that anti-Clinton sentiment is often worn as a badge of honor in the Sanders camp, and the opposition to Mrs. Clinton is has changed over the course of the campaign. In the run-up to the primaries, before votes were actually being cast, most of the criticisms of Mrs. Clinton that I encountered were objections to her politics - namely the idea, perhaps born of a realization that she wouldn't have a particularly friendly Congress in the outset, that change was best made incrementally. Senator Sanders, on the other hand, believed in much more of an all-in approach. If any proposed progressive legislation would be watered down in Congress, the only way to make any headway would be to ask for the Moon and the stars. This more aggressive, "damn the Congress," approach appealed to people who saw the nation as fundamentally broken with only a little time to fix it.

But as time has gone on, the opposition to a Clinton presidency has become rooted in a dislike of Hillary Clinton herself, with objections referencing her character and honesty. Where her plans for incremental change were once viewed mostly as ineffective, they were now being characterized as deceitful, part of a hateful plot to fool "the people" so that Mrs. Clinton could continue to do the bidding of her wealthy campaign donors.

Sincerely, someone who can't even be bothered to spell the candidate's name correctly.
It's been interesting to watch this evolution, especially over the short timeframe in which it occurred. It's rare, I think, to witness such transformations in real time.

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