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Mulling A Possible Contested Convention, Pt. I


Like it or not, it seems pretty clear that there are lots of Bernie supporters who won’t vote for any Democrat except for Bernie. I wish all Bernie supporters were Dem-voters no matter what, but wishes aren’t going to change this. If Bernie doesn’t have a plurality of delegates, that’s one thing… but if he does? I don’t think you can imagine the rage from those voters — and even some solid Dem Bernie supporters might be pissed enough to suddenly become “soft” Dems on election day, if he’s denied the nomination. I think that’s by far the biggest danger of this “we must stop Bernie!” attitude.

All these Bernie-or-bust voters could be a great weakness, but they could also be a big strength should he be nominated — many of them probably aren’t regular voters, and didn’t vote in 2016. There might just be enough of them to overcome and maybe even swamp the negatives that Bernie brings (i.e. the moderates and never-Trump Republicans who might not be able to bring themselves to vote for a self-described socialist).

Nate Silver says that we should have very little confidence that we can predict who is more or less electable. Bernie has some weaknesses, but the party may not be able to afford nominating anyone else if Bernie maintains his current advantage through the rest of the contest.

About The Author


John is TPM‘s Prime editor. His writing has also appeared at The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Salon, Slate, UN Dispatch, Vox, Worth, and Al Jazeera, and has been broadcast on Public Radio International. Before joining TPM, John was a producer for Bill Moyers and WNYC, and worked as a news writer for Grist. He grew up in New Jersey, studied history and film at Oberlin College, and got his master‘s degree in journalism from Columbia University.