Election 2016

After loss in Nevada, will LGBTQ Bernie fans remain loyal?

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders

The tough moment has arrived for LGBTQ Bernie Sanders supporters (which a new poll puts at 41 percent to Hillary Clinton‘s 48 percent).

After Clinton’s 5-point defeat of Sanders in Saturday’s Nevada caucus, political calculators are starting to say that Sanders probably can’t pull ahead of Clinton in delegates, that he isn’t mustering enthusiasm among crucial black voters, and that Clinton is likely to win upcoming primaries, including the seven that take place on March 1, “Super Tuesday.”

But that doesn’t mean that LGBTers #FeelingTheBern are ready to give up on him just yet. For one thing, they point to a major new poll suggesting that Sanders would do better than Clinton against Republican candidates Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in the general election.

Says Mark in New York City, who’s supporting Sanders over Clinton even though he’s not crazy about either, “It  just feels like the country won’t get behind Clinton. She embodies the establishment more than any living American, and this is a very antiestablishment year.”

Lisa, another New York Bernie supporter, says, “I’m not giving up my chance to vote my values in the primary. That’s what primaries are for.” (New York’s primary, on April 19, is among the final three — with California and Pennsylvania — so the actual nominee may be nearly decided by then.)

Of course, LGBTers say that if Clinton gets the nomination, they’ll enthusiastically fall in line behind her against any Republican. (How can they not, when there’s not one leading Republican candidate who’s good on LGBTQ issues?)

But for now, they’re still committed to Uncle Bernie.

“I worry about what his ‘moon and the stars’ promises will do once they face the real world,” says Kyle, in Minnesota, which fivethirtyeight.com calls one of the states “that Sanders absolutely needs to win to have a shot at taking the nomination.”

“But I think I’ll caucus for him,” says Kyle, “mostly because I think his crazy, inspiring rhetoric really fits in with this political idea I have of Minnesota being a deep blue state.” He calls Clinton “probably the most qualified candidate I’m the least excited to have to eventually vote for.”

Interestingly, LGBTQ issues are the least of the reasons dividing people between the two candidates. Sanders may have opposed the antigay Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and declared actual support for gay marriage five years before Clinton did in 2013. But when Clinton’s past shortfalls on the issue are set aside, LGBTQ people see little difference in how the two candidates might go forward on such issues as workplace discrimination if either were president.

Then again, many voters have a personal and emotional connection with Clinton that goes back years before people knew who Bernie Sanders was. Many admire her for pushing forward and prevailing in the face of sexism. Others say she reminds them of their mothers.

“The gay fanboys for Hillary almost make me think she’s the object of transference from Madonna, if Madonna had never had work done,” says one gay man in San Francisco.

Himself, he’s #FeelingTheBern. No surprise there.

 

 

 

This Story Filed Under

Comments