• WisPolitics

Monday, June 06, 2016

 10:06 PM 

Sanders supporters split on backing Clinton if she wins nomination

About half of the Bernie Sanders supporters polled by WisPolitics.com at the Democratic Party of Wisconsin convention said they would vote for Hillary Clinton if she won the nomination. 

Another quarter said they’d vote for another candidate -- about half of them would write-in Sanders -- while another quarter were undecided. Just one respondent chose Donald Trump, and one would likely sit out the election. 

WisPolitics.com typically conducts straw polls at state conventions, but the Dem Party this year would not sell the independent news service a table to conduct the survey unless it pedged not to include questions about the presidential race in the straw poll. WisPolitics.com refused the demand. 

In its place, WisPolitics.com interviewed more than 60 people over the weekend at convention who identified themselves as Sanders supporters. Of those, 59 people agreed to answer the question: “If Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, in the general election would you vote for Clinton, Trump, some other candidate, or sit out the election?” This was similar to a question posed via the WisPolitics.com straw poll to attendees of the state Republican Party convention in May. See results: http://gopconvos.wispolitics.com/2016/05/wispoliticscom-gop-conventioneers-like.html

While most Sanders supporters WisPolitics.com approached agreed to answer the survey, a handful of people refused, with several insisting the question was irrelevant because Sanders would clinch the nomination. 

The results of this non-scientific survey were: Clinton, 27; Trump, 1; some other candidate, 16; sit out the election, 1; undecided, 14. 

Selected comments are included below, organized in sections by answer, from those who either chose Clinton, some other candidate, or were undecided.

 Some would back Clinton to prevent ‘President Trump’

While about half said they’d back Clinton, it was with varying degrees of enthusiasm and largely aimed at keeping Trump out of the White House.

Jim Carpenter, a delegate from the 4th CD who was working the Progressive Democrats of America booth, said he’d vote for Clinton if she won the nomination. 

He described Trump as a “bully” and “narcissist.” 

“That’s a very dangerous person to be commander in chief,” Carpenter said. “Hillary is the lesser of two evils -- by a long shot.”

Eldeen Carpenter, Jim Carpenter’s wife, said if Clinton wins the nomination, it’s important for Dems to pull together to elect Clinton and Russ Feingold.

“It’s critical now,” she said. “Trump is dangerous and destructive.”

Bryan Kennedy, a former AFT-Wisconsin president who now serves as Glendale’s mayor and a delegate for Sanders at the national convention, said he’s campaigned hard for for the Vermont senator but would cast a vote for Clinton if she won the nomination. 

“‘President Trump,’ those two words scare the hell out of me,” said Kennedy, who lost his bid for a seat on the DNC. 

Ted Kraig, from the 4th CD in Milwaukee County, said he’d campaign for and vote for Clinton. 

“Trump makes it an easy choice,” he said.

Pamela Carlson, of Greenfield in the 5th CD, said Sanders is her first choice. But if he doesn’t win, “I’m behind Hillary in every way.”

For Kevin Phillips, a delegate with the 5th CD from Sheboygan County, “It comes down to stopping the Republicans.” 

But he said while Clinton might win the nomination, “Bernie has won the war” by energizing the younger generation. 

Mary Laan, a delegate for the 4th CD in Milwaukee County, said she would vote for Clinton although she doesn’t support Clinton’s “warlike behavior” and position on trade, because “Trump is worse.”

“Trump would be a disaster,” she said, and predicted he would get the U.S. involved in more military conflicts. 

For Sanders, Laan said, “There’s nothing he’s said I don’t agree with; he’s on our side.”

Marsha Vila, a 1st CD delegate from Milwaukee County, said she regretted she didn’t vote for Hubert Humphrey in 1968, the year that saw Richard Nixon elected president.

She said she didn’t want to make a similar mistake this year and would vote for Clinton should she win the nomination.  

“It will lead to Trump if we don’t unite,” Vila said. 

Kevin Kuehl, an 8th CD delegate from Waupaca County, said Clinton’s “heart is in the right place,” and she “would be a very good president.”

But Kuehl described Clinton as a “more traditional politician” whose views shift depending on the situation.

“Bernie would be much more forceful and stand his ground” on issues such as the living wage, higher education and health care, he said. 

His wife, Cathy Kuehl, said she’d also back Clinton. 

“You can’t always get exactly what you want,” she said. “Hillary would be a damn sight better than Donald Trump as president of the United States.”

Mistrust, process gripes cause some to rule out Clinton

Several of those who said they would choose another candidate in the general election expressed anger at the nomination process, distrust of Clinton and a fear she’d delay progressive change. 

James Wine, of the 3rd CD in La Crosse County, said he was upset with the nomination process and brought up several examples he said showed the Clinton campaign disenfranchising Sanders supporters. 

“If she wins with chicanery, let her win it by herself,” Wine said. 

His wife, Marsha Wine, said she can’t vote for Clinton because her positions “change with the wind.”

“Hillary and Bill do whatever is best for them,” she said.

Cora Pynenberg, a delegate from Outagamie County in the 8th CD, said she’d write in Sanders over Clinton. 

“I believe the differences between Bernie and Hillary are more critical than their similarities on war, fracking, education and health care,” she said. 

She said if Clinton became president she would likely serve eight years and push the nation to the right. She predicted a Tea Party-style backlash against the right if people got a taste of Trump, whom she predicted would be voted out in favor of a progressive candidate after four years.

Bryan Reid Bliss, of Madison, said he would write in a candidate and is not willing to compromise “on such an unethical candidate.” 

He said if Clinton were the nominee, Republicans would win the election. 

“If we choose an inferior candidate we will lose the election,” Bliss said.

Clinton has work to do to sway undecideds

James Briskey, an 8th CD delegate from Burnett County, said Sanders brought him into the Democratic Party. Should Sanders not win the nomination, Briskey would consider voting for Clinton if she adopted more progressive positions, such as supporting a $15 minimum wage.

“She’s got to commit to some ideals that have energized the electorate for Bernie,” Briskey said. 

Jesse Clingan, a 5th CD delegate from Washington County, said he’s not counting out a Sanders win should he win the California primary, which is today. But if Clinton wins the nomination, his decision on how he votes would depend on whether Clinton nominates Sanders for vice president or whether Sanders stages a third-party bid. 

Still, he said Clinton has work to do in areas such as social justice and the minimum wage to persuade Sanders supporters to vote for her. 

“I believe she needs to work real hard right after the convention to bring in Bernie Sanders supporters,” Clingan said. 

Eric Marsch, from Milwaukee County in the 4th CD, said he’s undecided and wants to see what happens after the nomination fight is over. 

“I want Hillary to win my vote,” he said, but added that in the general election he’d like to do “whatever will send the strongest message in support of progressive policies.”

If Clinton looks to be the clear winner, he said he may cast a vote for Sanders, but if it was a close election he may cast a ballot for Clinton to deny Trump a victory.

“It’s way too early to say,” Marsch said.

Mack Yagilashek and Darren Spence, both of the 3rd CD in Chippewa County, said Clinton has work to do to get their votes.

Spence said it was possible he’d vote for Clinton, “but I don’t think she’s done a very good job of convincing us to get on her bandwagon.”

Yagilashek said if the election is close, he’d vote for Clinton, but if either Clinton or Trump were polling ahead by a large margin, he’d vote for a third party. 

He agreed with Spence that Clinton hasn’t done a good job of persuading him.

“The convention theme is unite, vote, win, but they haven’t given us a reason to unite,” Yagilashek said.


<< Back to Dem Convo Blog main page


wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us


Updates from WisPolitics.com on Wisconsin's participation in Democratic conventions.

Editor: JR Ross
Reporters: Chris Thompson, David Wise

· Dem Convo Blog site feed


· Democratic Party of Wisconsin website
· DPW convention page
· Convention agenda
· Convention hotel


· June 2005
· June 2006
· June 2007
· July 2007
· June 2008
· August 2008
· June 2009
· June 2010
· May 2011
· June 2011
· June 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· May 2013
· June 2013
· May 2014
· June 2014
· May 2015
· June 2015
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications