‘They cheated’: Many Bernie Sanders supporters still upset at Democratic Party over 2016 – National


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It was exhausting to overlook Cheri Pichone’s pleasure about Bernie Sanders’ second presidential run. She confirmed as much as a current Iowa rally decked out in Sanders gear, full with a figurine of the Vermont senator and progressive icon.

However beneath her exuberance, the 36-year-old was nonetheless mad in regards to the final Democratic main, when Sanders’ bid for the presidency fell quick to Hillary Clinton.

“They cheated,” she mentioned, directing a lot of her anger on the Democratic Nationwide Committee. The social gathering institution, she lamented, was “actively working in opposition to us.”

READ MORE: Bernie Sanders raises $18M, takes early lead in 2020 fundraising

Pichone voted for Inexperienced Celebration candidate Jill Stein in 2016 and mentioned she might vote for a 3rd social gathering once more if Sanders doesn’t clinch the nomination.

She’s emblematic of a persistent group of Sanders supporters who gained’t let go of the slights — actual and perceived — from the final marketing campaign. The frustration is notable now that Sanders is a 2020 front-runner, raking in $18.2 million within the first quarter, downplaying issues about DNC bias and highlighting his success in bringing the social gathering round on liberal insurance policies it as soon as resisted.

Some establishment-aligned Democrats fear the social gathering may lose in 2020 if lingering issues in regards to the final main aren’t put to mattress.

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“It has the potential to escalate, and it has the potential to assist re-elect Donald Trump,” mentioned Mo Elleithee, a former spokesman for Clinton and the DNC.

The acrimony stems from a fiercely fought marketing campaign and a way amongst Sanders loyalists that social gathering leaders privately favored Clinton. DNC leaders on the time scheduled fewer debates than Republicans and typically slated them for nights with low tv viewership. Usually opaque delegate allocation guidelines additionally contributed to a perception amongst some Sanders supporters that the first was basically rigged.

READ MORE: Bernie Sanders’ new senior adviser has a historical past of criticizing different 2020 Democrats

In line with knowledge from the Pew Analysis Heart, the stress took a toll. About 81% of people that persistently supported Sanders through the main season and had been confirmed to have voted within the common election mentioned they in the end voted for Clinton, whereas 11% mentioned they supported Stein or Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, and three% supported Trump.

In a intently contested election, these strikes away from Clinton might have factored into the outcomes.

For the reason that election, social gathering leaders have sought to clean issues over with Sanders and his supporters. DNC Chairman Tom Perez is planning a strong debate schedule. The principles governing superdelegates — social gathering insiders who overwhelmingly backed Clinton — have modified.

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Sanders has publicly expressed confidence within the course of this time round, however in phrases that recommend he gained’t quickly neglect 2016.

“In 2016, I believe I can’t shock anyone to recommend that the DNC was not fairly evenhanded,” he mentioned throughout a CNN city corridor in February. “I believe we now have come a great distance since then, and I absolutely count on to be handled fairly in addition to anyone else.”

In an interview Friday, Sanders marketing campaign supervisor Faiz Shakir echoed that optimism.

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“If you happen to’re speaking to anybody on the Democratic Nationwide Committee who’s there now, I’m positive they’ll inform you that their relationship with the Bernie Sanders marketing campaign is nice and that we’re working in good religion and we’re speaking to one another on an nearly every day foundation,” he mentioned. “Anybody suggesting that there’s any form of friction there may be dwelling previously. They’re dwelling with some grudges that they’re holding onto from a bygone time.”

Nonetheless, the marketing campaign has made some strikes that increase questions on whether or not resentments from 2016 will linger. Briahna Pleasure Grey, previously a liberal journalist who voted for Stein, is Sanders’ nationwide press secretary. Nina Turner, who known as the DNC “dictatorial and pompous” in 2017, is one in all his nationwide marketing campaign chairs.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders addresses ‘We the Individuals’ rally in Washington D.C.

And a few of Sanders’ most loyal supporters within the essential early voting states say they’re not prepared to totally transfer on.

Nicholas Shaw, a 39-year-old from Harmony, New Hampshire, spent his current birthday watching Sanders communicate. Like Pichone, he mentioned he wouldn’t assist the Democratic nominee if it’s anybody apart from Sanders.

“In the event that they steal it from him once more, I’ll go impartial or one thing apart from that,” he mentioned. “The Democratic Celebration’s on their final fringe of me in the event that they form of attempt to screw him once more.”

READ MORE: Democratic presidential hopefuls out in full dash forward of 2020 election

Even in South Carolina, the place Sanders misplaced momentum after a 47-point drubbing from Clinton, some supporters are nonetheless smarting over a course of they consider was rigged.

“Misplaced may be a stretch,” mentioned Tom Amon, of Summerville, when requested how he felt about Sanders’ skill to carry out higher in South Carolina than he did within the 2016 main. “It was stolen from him.”

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