One in four supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has yet to get on board with former Vice President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, and Biden’s troubles with an new sexual assault allegation seem to be contributing to Sanders’ supporters staying away, according to a poll released Wednesday.
Some of Sanders’ former supporters are even considering casting a ballot for President Donald Trump.
“Nearly 1 in 4 Sanders supporters (22%) said they would vote for a third party candidate, vote for President Donald Trump, not vote in November or were undecided about who to vote for,” USA Today reports, based on a USA Today. Suffolk poll. “When broken down, 2% said they would vote for Trump, 8% said they would vote for a third party candidate, 2% said they would skip voting and 8% are still undecided.”
That does mean, of course, that more than 75% of Sanders supporters will cast their ballots for Biden, but as in 2016, lingering resentment over how the nomination process was handled threatens to sideline some of the Democrats’ support — and right now, given how close the margins are in battleground states, Joe Biden can use all the support he can get.
Sanders had harsh words for Democratic socialists sitting out the November election, telling them in a video message that he believes they’re being “irresponsible.”
“I believe that it’s irresponsible for anybody to say, ‘Well, I disagree with Joe Biden – I disagree with Joe Biden! – and therefore I’m not going to be involved,’” Sanders said, calling attention to the larger issue, defeating the incumbent president.
Biden has also aggressively courted Sanders voters, putting Sanders himself on some of the presidential campaign’s policy committees and enlisting Sanders’ aides in decisions about how his campaign should handle contentious issues like worker’s rights and climate change.
In the last week, though, Biden’s campaign has hit a snag with progressives, who believe Biden is no longer the Democrats’ best bet to beat Trump because of a sexual assault allegation, leveled by a former Biden aide named Tara Reade, that surfaced earlier in April and circulated aggressively among progressives before it went public.
Business Insider reports that “as new evidence has emerged corroborating [Tara] Reade’s allegations, several prominent Sanders’ supporters and former aides have broken with Sanders and called on Biden to drop out of the 2020 race. ”
Many feel that a presidential candidate who has faced questions about his handsiness with women can’t hold the moral high ground against Trump, who has also been accused of sexual harassment, and who branded himself a playboy for much of the 1980s and 1990s.
“We lose ALL moral authority if we embrace ‘the lesser of two accused rapists,'” tweeted Democratic activist Peter Daou.
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