Anyone who assumes a wholesale transfer of loyalty from Sanders’ supporters to Clinton, or from Trump’s to another Republican standard-bearer, may be in for a surprise. Will Bernie Sanders’ supporters rally behind Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination?
About the same percent of Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney backers came around to supporting John Mc Cain.
But 2008 may not be a good guide to the 2016 election, whose most conspicuous feature is furious antipathy to the political establishment.
Outsiders and mavericks are often attractive to an American electorate chronically suspicious of political insiders, but the anti-establishment sentiments unleashed this election year are of a different magnitude.
The Trump and Sanders candidacies are both dramatic repudiations of politics as usual.
If Hillary Clinton is perceived to have won the Democratic primary because of insider “superdelegates” and contests closed to independents, it may confirm for hardcore Bernie supporters the systemic political corruption Sanders has been railing against.
Similarly, if the Republican Party ends up nominating someone other than Trump who hasn’t attracted nearly the votes that he has, it may be viewed as proof of Trump’s argument that the Republican Party is corrupt.Many Sanders supporters will gravitate to Hillary Clinton nonetheless out of repulsion toward the Republican candidate, especially if it’s Donald Trump.Likewise, if Trump loses his bid for the nomination, many of his supporters will vote Republican in any event, particularly if the Democratic nominee is Hillary Clinton.But, unlike previous elections, a good number may simply decide to sit out the election because of their even greater repulsion toward politics as usual – and the conviction it’s rigged by the establishment for its own benefit.That conviction wasn’t present in the 2008 election.It emerged later, starting in the 2008 financial crisis, when the government bailed out the biggest Wall Street banks while letting underwater homeowners drown.