How did Bernie Sanders become a factor in the 2016 election and what were the long-term effects of his candidacy?
To be quite honest, I never really heard of Bernie Sanders until a few years ago. That should tell you how little I paid attention to politics.
Yet from 2010-2012, I could only find one person who consistently praised Sanders. I thought, “What makes this Senator so special?” without bothering to do much research on him. At the time I was preoccupied with life in general and trying to finish up school.
By the time 2016 rolled around, I began to know more about this independent Senator from Vermont. And it became clear why he had a growing following. But he was running as a Democrat and going up against the eventual Democratic nominee. The odds were stacked against him and I never really expected him to win.
As the primary went on, Sanders was closing the initial gap between him and Clinton. At the same time, the race on the Democratic side was getting more contentious. Naturally, there was bickering as the Clinton and Sanders factions were getting louder.
The acrimony between the factions increased as Sanders supporters accused the DNC of collusion and vote-rigging and they were being chided for various reasons. I will get into these accusations in subsequent posts, but I address part of the anger here.