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End of Blame Game: Sanders (and His Supporters) Helped Hillary Win Popular Vote in 2016

Sanders voters were an indispensable contribution to her popular vote tallies.

Clinton’s combination of entitlement, arrogance and low self-esteem have prevented her from taking stock. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Clinton’s combination of entitlement, arrogance and low self-esteem have prevented her from taking stock. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A recent article that compiles different sources of voter data from the 2016 election permanently debunks the myth that Sanders and his voters were responsible for Clinton's defeat— and reverses it.

With over 74% of Sanders followers taking Bernie's lead to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016, Sanders voters contributed mightily to Clinton’s popular vote win, as well as her prevailing in several swing states, that she would have otherwise lost, going down to a crushing defeat. Sanders voters were an indispensable contribution to her popular vote tallies.

The 45% of voters who stayed home, and those who “undervoted,” which means they voted for other state or local candidates, but for neither of the Presidential candidates, were more significant to her loss, the data shows. As the article reveals,

If Sanders voters hadn’t voted for Clinton, she would have lost. Badly. Not just the national popular vote either….Clinton would have lost all the states she lost anyway but by larger margins, and would have also lost New HampshireNew Mexico and Minnesota by even the more expansive figure, Virginia

What can we learn from this?

First, that running a centrist candidate to appeal to Trump voters is like looking for pennies on the street, and ignoring opportunities to earn thousands of dollars by working for it, This means reaching out to the 45% of the population who did not show up in 2016.

In doing that right now, Sanders and his supporters are more critical to defeating Trump than the Democratic Party, or Clinton and company have allowed to be known. Medicare for All is key to that recruitment, which is why centrists toying with it and offering ineffective look-a-like plans are what contributes to a Trump win

The Emotional Labor Generated by Hillary Clinton

In the aftermath of the election, it was divisive for Clinton (and her supporters) to persist in putting out false talking points that gave an inaccurate view of what happened— and lead her party and supporters to blame others, rather than revise their own plans.

A lot of us on the left have spent our time and energy correcting the record and explaining the truth to people we know, and to voters. That's emotional labor (and often travel and time) that we offer towards a crucial course correction for our society. We are not compensated for this, but we do it any way. For the people who swallowed the lies about Sanders and supporters, to sit back, blame us for Trump, and dare to put us through their worn-out litmus test (AnyBlueWillDo) for defeating Trump, is so lame. If they are really so concerned, they are welcome to join the Sanders movement.

When it's verifiable that Sanders aggressively campaigned for Clinton, and his voters followed suit, who gave her the right to turn around and blame him for her election loss— and mislead her supporters? I see my friends debunking that falsehood day after day.

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Is this the standard we as women want to emulate, taking from people and then blaming them for our own failures?

Instead of meeting the public where they are, physically and politically, Clinton spent on highly paid consultants to devise simple-minded and untruthful talking points, and slogans that infect people's minds like a virus. She had and still has the money and access to put these out on corporate media to influence people, thereby turning friend against friend.

Who is divisive? Who is a friend to women? Who is stealing other people's life energy and time? Who is recruiting people with falsehoods? Who is the misogynist?

The fact that the patriarchal oligarchs do the same thing— does not excuse a woman from doing it. The idea that we are "blaming her more for doing what men do"? Yeah, we are, and we must because the alternative is making dominator predatory behavior the norm for everyone. No thanks!

Instead of handicapping women or feeling gratified when they imitate the worst behavior, how about women holding women to a more caring standard, rather than cheering on and defending a woman in a power seat who undermines caring values?

It's also absurd to ask for unity only on your own terms.

And as women we cannot automatically trust what any woman says just because she is a woman. Some women prefer that Clinton or Rachel Maddow (or a few other names come to mind)—tell us what's what, so that they don’t have to do their own homework. When they therefore carry views that other people know to be false, instead of being open to the facts, they will attribute the disagreement to misogyny. That's a cop-out. Our gender does not entitle us to careless and ill-informed thinking (or behavior). Nor does hiding out in a silo of people who agree with you, and clinging to outdated, discredited political notions that, if enacted, would negative impact young people’s future.

I’ve met so many smart young black and brown women, working overtime to change our system. Moumita Ahmed, a Queens activist and co-founder of Millennials for Bernie, is just one example. This past election season, Ahmed launched the referendum that gave New York City ranked choice voting. Some of these women are running for political office. More will join the ranks of elected officials.

These are the people, Hillary Clinton’s ugly meme, Bernie Bros, sought to erase. Instead of undertaking some self-reflection, and receiving the lessons from her defeat, Clinton’s combination of entitlement, arrogance and low self-esteem have prevented her from taking stock. Instead she manipulated her followers with untruths, created a divide, and burdened everyone else with cleaning up her mess.

Hillary Clinton—The Misogynist is You!

Alison Rose Levy

Alison Rose Levy

Alison Rose Levy is a New York-based journalist who covers the nexus of health, science, the environment, and public policy. She has reported on fracking, pipelines, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, chemical pollution, and the health impacts of industrial activity for the Huffington Post, Alternet, Truthdig, and EcoWatch. 

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