Left-wing progressives who supported the candidacy of avowed socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are having a hard time getting behind the Democratic establishment candidate, presumptive nominee Joe Biden. Their attitudes and recent comments could help President Donald Trump get re-elected, according to analysis from The Atlantic.
Backing Biden is apparently so distasteful that a Sanders campaign co-chair likened it to eating a "bowl of s**t."
What's going on now?
During the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries, when it was becoming evident that then-Sen. Barack Obama was going to take the nomination from Hillary Clinton, party leaders called on all Democrats to come together to support the eventual nominee.
A radical group of Clinton supporters started a group called "Party Unity, My Ass," or PUMA. (The group later claimed on its website that PUMA stood for "People United Means Action.") The band of activists tried to fight the inevitable nomination of Obama to the bitter end, even going so far as to starting the infamous birther narrative against the man who would become the nation's first black president.
But the PUMAs can't hold a candle to many of the leftist progressive backers of Sanders. Sanders supporters have gained a bit of a reputation over the years for not being willing to play ball with non-radicals — much less moderates — in the Democratic Party.
For example, one faction, known as the Bernie Bros., harassed Democratic election officials at their homes, reportedly created "fake tweets" to get fans of a popular boy band to attack a journalist who had written a damaging article, and allegedly vandalized a campaign office of Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg.
Now that nothing stands between Biden and the Democratic nomination, progressive Sanders supporters are not happy about the notion of supporting the "establishment" nominee.
Nina Turner, a co-chair of the Sanders campaign, reportedly told The Atlantic's Peter Nicholas that the notion of endorsing Biden was like eating a "bowl of s**t."
"It's like saying to somebody, 'You have a bowl of s**t in front of you, and all you've got to do is eat half of it instead of the whole thing,'" she said, according to Nicholas. "It's still s**t."
Another Bernie backer, hard-core leftist Harvard professor Cornel West, lamented that he and other liberals would have to back the very type of candidate they have been fighting against.
"We have to be true to ourselves and acknowledge that Biden is a mediocre, milquetoast, neoliberal centrist that we've been fighting against in the Democratic establishment," West said.
How will this help Trump?
Nicholas warned that the ongoing spat between Sanders supporters and the rest to the Democratic Party could help Trump come November.
"[Biden] still symbolizes a brand of establishment centrism that leaves some younger voters and some in the party's activist wing uninspired," Nicholas noted.
This could lead to Sanders' base staying home on Election Day "out of pique," during Biden's efforts in swing states, he warned.
Nicholas concluded: "Expect Trump to aggravate a dispute that advances his own interests. As I've written, he spent months wooing Sanders voters during the primary, trying to convince them that the senator was the victim of a Democratic conspiracy to prevent him from getting the party's nomination."