While the ‘Bernie or Bust’ voter scourge is vastly overrated–in 2016, Sanders primary supporters were no less likely to vote for the opposite party in the general election than in any other presidential election (and were far more loyal than Clinton supporters in 2008). Yet there are still worries that the Bernie or Busters could cost Democrats the election. What’s odd is nobody is talking about the Biden or Busters (boldface mine):
But now Nate Silver has taken a fresh look at the issue from the perspective not of hypothetic votes in a distant general election, but in terms of intensity and exclusivity of support for a candidate in the Democratic field:
A recent YouGov poll, which asked Democrats to list all the candidates they were considering rather than requiring them to pick just one, also seems to suggest that Sanders has a relatively high floor of support. Among Democrats who were considering only one candidate, 28 percent were considering only Sanders, and 27 percent were considering only Biden. Everyone else was in the single digits on this question.
Here’s the catch, though: Only 28 percent of Democrats fell into the category of considering only one candidate. (By comparison, 67 percent are still considering multiple candidates, and 5 percent aren’t considering any current candidates.) So Sanders isn’t getting 28 percent of 100 percent — he’s getting 28 percent of 28 percent. That means just 8 percent of the overall Democratic electorate truly falls into the “Bernie or bust” category.
According to the same standard in the same poll, an equal percentage of Democrats are “Biden or Bust” voters, not considering anyone other than Uncle Joe. Since they are likely on average more moderate or “swingy” than Sanders supporters, you’d figure they might be more likely to defect in a general election if the party does go democratic socialist at the top of the ticket. But you don’t hear much about that possibility, just as you don’t hear Democrats begging Biden (or any other candidates aside from Sanders) to take special care to keep his voters under the party’s big tent.
The left is supposed to shut up and take it, while centrists are prized as ‘real’ voters (that those voters are disproportionately white is a coincidence). So, will Biden and moderate Democrats do the hard work and reach out to their fellow Biden supporters to make sure they vote Democratic if he doesn’t win the nomination? We’ll see!