For much of late February, it appeared that Bernie Sanders’ bid for the Democratic presidential nod was about to take on the nature of a Sherman tank. The long-presumed favorite on the moderate wing of the party, former Vice President Joe Biden, appeared to be sputtering after lackluster showings in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada.
But everything changed after Biden roared to a 30-point victory in South Carolina, buoyed by an 11th-hour endorsement from Congressman Jim Clyburn, the de facto leader of the South Carolina Democratic Party and the highest-ranking African-American in Congress. Three days later, on Super Tuesday, Biden powered to decisive victories in nine of 14 states.
In the last week, Biden has hoovered up dozens of endorsements–including those of two of his former rivals, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar. By nearly all accounts, he, not Sanders, is now in the driver’s seat for the Democratic nomination.
All of this has led a number of diehard Sanders supporters, especially the “Bernie or Busters” who will not support any Democrat not named Sanders–to find another excuse to yell “Rigged! Rigged!” at every turn. One person who seems to be salivating at the Bernie diehards’ outrage is Donald Trump. For some time, Trump has been taking to social media to wail about how the Democrats are stacking the deck against Sanders.
Anyone with half a brain would know what Trump was doing. He’s spent the better part of the last two years bleating and screeching about how the Democrats are nothing more than an angry mob of wild-eyed socialists. If Sanders were to win the nomination, Trump would have spent the summer and fall doing nothing but tossing out red meat about how Bernie would turn this country into another Venezuela–or words to that effect. That says a lot about how little Trump actually has to offer the country–especially those who aren’t entirely sold on him or the Democrats.
But what now, with Biden now indisputably the front-runner? Well, one prominent Trump supporter actually thinks that disaffected Bernie supporters may have a home–with Trump. Namely, Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr., one of Trump’s most loyal and most obnoxious supporters on the religious right.
On Wednesday, Falwell sat down with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on Cavuto’s Fox Business show, “Cavuto Coast to Coast.” The discussion turned to Biden’s rise to frontrunner status. Falwell provided a clip; watch here.
Falwell mused that Biden won a lot of Southern states which will likely see Trump landslides in November. Additionally, he noticed that Democrats have become more divided while Republicans are more divided. He believed that if Biden emerged victorious from a brokered convention in Milwaukee, the Democratic power brokers could learn the hard way that some ardent Sanders supporters “are more anti-establishment than they are socialist.”
Falwell claimed that “all the antics” of the past days that saw Biden consolidate his support could lead diehard Sanders supporters to “vote for someone who is anti-establishment.” In that scenario, he believed Trump could be the biggest beneficiary, since diehard Bernie supporters could presumably vote for him.
Just like another Junior we know, Falwell doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It’s plausible that Trump could get the votes of a few “Bernie or Busters,” like the bottom-feeders who bombard Elizabeth Warren’s Twitter feed with snake emojis, or who harassed Nevada Democratic officials at their houses. At bottom, those bottom-feeders are no different from the most deplorable of the deplorables, so they’d fit right in.
But they aren’t anything like the majority of Sanders supporters. Most of the ones I know want to fire Trump in November–even if their man doesn’t get the nomination. The great majority of them are like one of Bernie’s loudest and most loyal surrogates, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who announced on Friday night that she will support Biden if he wins the nomination. AOC is as anti-establishment as they come, so her vow to support Biden should prove the lie to Falwell’s suggestion.
But even without that to consider, we have to remember that for all of Trump’s wailing about “draining the swamp,” at bottom he is the very definition of an entitled one-percenter. In other words, he is the embodiment of the establishment. Sanders and his supporters know this. So even if a few “Bernie or Busters” drift to Trump, it likely won’t be the stampede that Falwell suggests would happen.
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