Democrats Found Out This Week That Bernie Supporters Are Not Going Away Any Time Soon

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Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey and other Senate Democrats found out that supporters of Bernie Sanders are not going away now that the election is over after 13 Democrat senators failed to vote in favor of an amendment proposed by Sanders to the 2017 congressional budget allowing the importation of prescription drugs from Canada to help reduce prescription drug costs for Americans. If the Democratic party had expectations that Sanders supporters were going to simply jump on the anti-Trump bandwagon and fall in line behind Democrats regardless of their deeds, that thought was readily dismissed when Bernie supporters took to social media to criticize Booker and the others over their votes.

Booker took the most heat of the 13 Democrats who voted against the amendment, partly because it’s widely rumored that he’s on the shortlist of potential nominees for the Democratic party in the 2020 presidential race. The morning after the vote late Wednesday night, Bernie supporters on Facebook and Twitter were collectively focused on pointed attacks against Booker and the other senate Democrats who voted against the amendment: Maria Cantwell of Washington, Thomas Carper of Delaware, Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Christopher Coons of Delaware, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Patty Murray of Washington, Jon Tester of Montana, and Mark Warner of Virginia.

On 12 Jan 2017, Big Pharma shill @CoryBooker sold out millions of American patients for $267,338 in campaign donations. pic.twitter.com/n5B8NadeRx

— Jeanette Sandernista (@JeanetteJing) January 13, 2017

While supporters of Hillary Clinton and other more traditional Democrats were still largely supportive of Booker for his testimony in congress against Trump Attorney General nominee, Jeff Sessions, Bernie supporters spent the day criticizing the New Jersey senator for his vote, and that criticism has still not let up, leading some to speculate to what extent the vote has impacted his chances of being a viable candidate for president in 2020. Jacobin Magazine called Booker “big pharma’s favorite Democrat,” and Farron Cousins of progressive news outlet, The Ring of Fire, highlighted Booker’s cozy relationship with pharmaceutical industry donors.

“Here’s the thing,” Cousins says. “Cory Booker is the number three recipient of money from big pharma in the last two years. He’s only been in the senate for two years. Number three recipient. He’s from New Jersey. That’s where a lot of the pharmaceuticals in the United States are made. Obviously, he wants to protect the interest of American pharmaceutical companies rather than the interest of American consumers.”

If Democrats want to win, maybe they should stop grandstanding when the cameras on and voting with the most GOP when nobody is looking. pic.twitter.com/8lsDWyYUpB

Given the extremely vocal reaction from Bernie supporters and what can be called the ‘progressive bloc’ of the Democratic party and the at-large U.S. electorate in response to the amendment not passing, even with bipartisan support (12 Republicans crossed the aisle to support the Sanders amendment, according to CNBC), it’s highly likely that Democratic party leaders are taking notice. They need those Bernie voters to win future elections and the bad publicity that comes from defying the wishes of a highly active and engaged group of voters is anathema to any politician with ambitions beyond retiring after their current term.

Bernie supporters are also celebrating victories last weekend in the California Assembly District Election Meetings (ADEMs). According to Paste Magazine, Berniecrats, as many Sanders supporters call themselves, took 44 out of 80 executive boards in the California ADEMs, winning 618 out of 1120 seats. This determines who gets to attend the state conventions in 2017 and 2018 and in many ways sets the tone for the future of the Democratic party in California. And for those familiar with the trajectory of medical marijuana or garlic fries in the United States, what begins in California often has a way of spreading out over the entire country.

#CaliforniaSoProgressive: Berniecrats swept the #ADEMs election, winning a majority of the +1100 delegate seats #tuesdaymotivation #CABudget pic.twitter.com/qcZr32F8Wf

— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) January 10, 2017

Bernie Sanders supporters were disappointed with the results of the 2016 election. Many begrudgingly voted for Hillary Clinton, while others chose to vote for Jill Stein of the Green party or didn’t vote at all. What’s clear, however, from the events of the past week, is that many of them have not given up. If anything, they’re digging in their heels for what could be a long fight.

Berniecrats are trying to become the future of the Democratic party. [Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]

[Featured Image by Mark Wilson/Getty Images]

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