Date: January 02, 2020
“A Jezebel writer thinks it’s time to stop saying “Bernie would’ve won.”
Hillary Clinton’s defeat in the 2016 presidential election ushered in a slew of analysis trying to assess what the fuck happened: Did the Clinton campaign miscalculate the popularity of their messaging and reach in crucial swing states? Voter suppression? Right-wing nationalism reaching its predictable conclusion? Was it Russian interference? Sexism? Three years later, any reasonable person can safely conclude that the answer is all of the above.
And out of the anger, the dismay, the fear that followed November 8, 2016, came a bitter refrain repeated by those who supported Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s main competitor in the Democratic primary: “Bernie would’ve won.”
The idea was half cynical meme, half sincere lament, but it effectively poured salt on the post-election wound. Its central argument drew from early stats: Sanders gained more votes than Clinton in crucial states like Michigan and Wisconsin during the primary, which later turned red during the general. Additionally, Sanders was considered the anti-establishment candidate during a year when being anti-establishment was en vogue: Trump ran and won on it, and though he didn’t get the popular vote (Clinton shoulda won), his anti-establishment messaging proved victorious in a slew of swing states. And, by the end of the election, Sanders was a more popular politician than both Clinton and Trump.