Every four years, after one candidate from each Party manages to claw their way to the Nomination, the Parties enter an interregnum phase, commonly referred to as the “Party healing phase” when the Party mends any wounds gained by the nomination process, to coalesce around the nominee.
The scene is the same each year, the runner-up throws their support to the victor, the victor does their best to quell any hesitations the runner-up’s supports may have, (often by including the runner-up in the new administration), and the voters eventually fall in line and vote for the Party’s candidate in the General Election. It is standard campaign/elections 101.
Yet in a year that should have all Political Science professors setting their textbooks on fire, it is presumptuous at best to assume that this year’s interregnum phase is likely to follow the rules.
If the Democratic Nominee is Bernie Sanders, there is no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s supporters will stand behind him, the same cannot necessarily be said if Clinton were to win the nomination.
It is a dangerous move for the Democratic Party to bank on the fact that Bernie Sanders’ supporters will “heal” with the Party and coalesce around Clinton, should she win. What the Democratic Party and the establishment at large do not understand is that Bernie Sanders supporters ARE initiating a revolution and it is a revolution that will continue, whether Sanders gets the nomination or not.
For many people Bernie Sanders has helped open their eyes to the crony capitalistic and blatant corrupt system that we have. For these people the genie is out of the bottle, there is no settling for the lessor of two evils.
There are three types of Bernie supporters whose profiles do not lend well to Hillary Clinton.
1. The First Timers – For many people Bernie Sanders has given them a reason to vote for the first time, never having participated in the political process before. We are not just talking Millennials and high schoolers looking for a free ride to college, we are talking about fully formed adults, seniors even, that have stayed on the sidelines their entire lives through one Presidential race after another, never finding a candidate palatable enough, except for now.
2. The Independents – There are many Independents that have gravitated to Bernie Sanders who have absolutely no loyalties to the Democratic Party and might very well switch to Trump if the match up is Clinton v. Trump. We all know someone who falls into this category.
3. The Real Liberals – Then there are the lifelong Liberal Democrats, who voted along the party line because it was the lesser of the two evils, never satisfied with the Party that continuously puts corporate interests before the interests of the American people.
There are many reasons that these groups are less likely to get behind Hillary Clinton, too many to list. But the biggest reason that some Sanders supporters will never support Hillary Clinton is because no matter how much she tries to sound like Sanders, we know that she has benefited, as much as anyone could, from the system that we are trying to change.
If Hillary Clinton is the Democratic Nominee, the only chance of healing the “Party” is to ask Bernie Sanders to be her running mate. There is no way around it, Sanders can survive without Clinton, Clinton cannot survive without Sanders.