sham elections
10 reasons why voters are turning to Bernie Sanders
When we asked our readers who they wanted to see as Democratic candidate, we were deluged with responses – most of them in favour of Bernie Sanders
By Guardian readers

1) He’s seen as a challenge to the status quo…

What came through loud and clear was the fury at mainstream American politics, echoing the populist support for (the really rather different) Donald Trump on the Republican side. Sanders appeals to those who feel the entire democratic system has broken down.

Sanders is representing my interests. For decades American politics have been a sham, elections bought and paid for by special interests and corporations. They have wrecked the environment, caused the biggest financial crisis in history and are using their deep pockets and for profit agendas to marginalize people’s needs even further.

  • Shaz Plunkett, Los Angeles CA

2) … whereas Clinton is viewed as more of the same

Clinton paints herself as the pragmatist who gets things done, but after New Hampshire she may need to further emphasise her progressive credentials if she’s going to win over those turning to Sanders.

I have no grudge with Hillary Clinton, but she had her chance eight years ago. She is old news, with plenty of controversy, baggage and history that will bring out Republicans in droves to vote against her.

  • Steve Guion, Fairfax, Virginia

3) Sanders’ consistency is judged a virtue

The phrase ‘flip-flopping’ may bring back memories of John Kerry’s doomed presidential campaign in 2004, but our readers were keen to attach it to Clinton. The consistency of Sanders’ views was seen as a major plus.

I’m tired of the rich getting richer, and having to work harder for less. I saw my parents lose so much of their retirement in the Wall Street crash and no one on Wall Street paid for that. My college education has done me no good but I still have student loans, and none of my kids were able to attend college because of the recession. We deserve change in this country, from someone who has consistently fought that fight.

4) They’re suspicious of Clinton’s ties with Wall Street

Sanders has made plenty of capital – if you’ll excuse the pun – from emphasising Clinton’s close ties with Wall Street. It’s an attack line we’re bound to see repeated in future debates.

Sanders is the only candidate who prioritizes campaign finance reform. Hillary Clinton is one of the biggest beneficiaries of our current broken system, and has no reason to change it. If she wins it will be because of Wall Street money. I can’t vote for that.

  • Walker Bragman, East Hampton, New York

5) They’re demanding ‘revolutionary’ change…

Clinton has aimed to paint Sanders’ pitch to the nation as unrealistic, but there was a real sense of exhaustion with triangulation and incremental change.

He is the only candidate that is standing for poor and middle income people. With the constant attacks on our pensions, our unions, our health care, our public schools, etc, Bernie is the only candidate that is promising to do something for us: free college, reduction in student loans, health care for all, etc. In addition, he is honest and is refusing to accept corporate or billionaire donations to his campaign

  • Jannike Johnsen, Washington state

6) … and they think it’s too late for baby steps

Again echoing Trump’s rhetoric, albeit from a very different political viewpoint, were the readers who felt this is the best chance for a generation to instigate serious change at the top. What Clinton dismisses as unrealistic, Sanders voters view as the last chance for America.

Money in politics, income inequality, $15 minimum wage, free college, breaking up the banks, holding Wall Street accountable, reforming the criminal justice system: Bernie has vision and is engaging us in the hard work that needs to be done to achieve this progressive agenda, which the ClintonDemocrats have tried to convince us is impossible. Nothing is impossible if we come together and demand change. Bernie knows that and the time has come for democratic socialists to share a our vision for our future that will benefit all Americans.

  • Tenaya Wallace, Los Angeles, California

7) Climate change is an existential threat

And talking of the urgent need for change, our readers felt no issue is more stark than that of climate change – and that Sanders is the only candidate prepared to tackle it.

I believe that climate change is the worst long-term threat we face and that we must work to combat it by increasing our alternative energy sources.

  • Sidney Bennett, Nashville Tennessee

8) It’s not just about the millenials

We heard from a wide range of Sanders’ backers, from teenagers to octonogenarians. The older voters in particular were keen to emphasise his popularity across the age spectrum.

For many, this is their first foray into politics, the first time they are getting behind a candidate. They’re excited and horrified as they see “I campaign politics as usual”. The people who admonish them forget what it was like when they were that age and their zeal and determination helped to bring about the end of the Vietnam war. And despite what you see on TV or read in the paper, it isn’t only young people supporting Bernie. The media portrays it that way, but it’s much bigger than that. I’m one of Bernie’s older supporters. There are a lot of us too.

  • Laura Veralli, New York

9) They see him as a conduit for change rather than a miracle worker

Our readers were keen to emphasise that for Sanders to succeed, it would take a genuine democratic popular movement and grassroots organisation on a huge scale – something that needs to happen now in order to maintain the momentum of his campaign.

Sanders energizes people to get involved. He admits that even as President, nothing will change if the people of the United States don’t get involved to demand change

  • Jill Kapson, Chicago, Illinois

10) They’re angry as hell

Amid the hope and optimism that Sanders could lead America to a better future, there was much frustration at the iniquities of the US system and the inability of generations of leaders – including Obama – to affect any kind of meaningful change. From NSA surveillance to the bailing out of the banks, Sanders’ campaign is fuelled by plenty of anger.

I became disillusioned with politics watching Nixon go down when I was 16 and discussing it in civics class. The first vote I ever cast was for Jimmy Carter two years later – a man whose personal integrity has been evident to this day. My young hopes and idealism were crushed when he was not reelected. Ever since, I have been forced to choose the lesser of two evils time and time again.

I am no fool. I know that his proposals will be extremely hard to bring about. But I have been waiting all my adult life for another politician with personal integrity, who walks the talk.

  • Debra Vogel, Frederick, Maryland


Honestly the only thing shocking about this election is that fascism is a lot stronger in America than we thought, and even then if we had merely paid attention to who was getting the most media coverage we would’ve figured out who the chosen ones were this election.

No one voted for these candidates. The media gave them to us.

It sickens me that those of us on the left who called this election a sham and voting a fool’s game have turned out to be so completely correct. I didn’t want to be right about this. But at least I can say I told you so. That’s one small consolation.

Who knows, maybe our beloved free press will manage to give us our first outright dictator too! I believe in them uwu