Tr🍩ll Smear #7: “Bernie stayed in the race too long, and he used his campaign to damage Hillary and the Democrats”
This line of attack is especially pernicious, because it seeks to somehow place blame for Trump on Bernie and his supporters. That because the Sanders campaign went all the way to the convention, it left the Democrats divided and weakened.
Poppycock. This assumes that the Democrats were not already divided and weakened. The Democratic Party had been fractured and had been losing members steadily for years.
Moreover, Bernie cannot be blamed for losses at the ballot box. The Democrats had been in a death spiral at the polls since Obama took office:
As far as staying in the race as long as he did, Bernie had several reasons for doing so, and — contrary to what his detractors may say — they were all for the good of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton.
Hillary supporters frequently say that Bernie did not campaign “hard enough” for Hillary, and that he did not do enough to convince his supporters to vote for Hillary. This is bullshit.
Let’s not forget that it was a very hard fought campaign, and the WikiLeaks email revelations did not make Bernie supporters feel very loving or appreciative toward either Clinton or the DNC.
By staying in the race, Bernie kept his followers engaged in the political process. By fighting for every delegate, he was able to get some of “his people” on the Platform Committee. And by having at least some influence in that committee, he was then able to go to his supporters and claim that he — and they — had been instrumental in forging the “most progressive party platform in history.”
This was an important part of his message to his base. There was no way he could get them to love Hillary and suddenly be “with Her.” Sanders voters were and are totally issues-based. And so Bernie was able to appeal to that preoccupation with issues by pointing to the Platform document and asking them to “vote for the Party that supports these things.”
The result was that over 90% of Sanders supporters voted for Hillary. Jill Stein, in the end, garnered only about 1% of the vote.