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By Michael Semple
CCC Journalism Program

Although he’s not on the ballot Nov. 8, Bernie Sanders is playing a role in the 2016 presidential election.

A Bernie Sanders supporter still backs the former Democratic presidential candidate with a bumper sticker at Camden County College. By Michael Semple, CCC Journalism Program

A Bernie Sanders supporter still backs the former Democratic presidential candidate with a bumper sticker at Camden County College. By Michael Semple, CCC Journalism Program

The Vermont senator gave eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton a strong challenge in the 2016 party primaries and drew the support of many young voters. At the Democratic National Convention that nominated Clinton, Sanders stated, “We have to defeat (Republican candidate) Donald Trump and we have to elect Hillary Clinton and (vice presidential running mate) Tim Kaine.”

After he said this July 25, many of his supporters booed him on stage, upset he did not win the Democratic nomination. Now, coming closer to the election, many of his supporters agree on voting for Clinton. According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of people who supported Sanders will vote for Clinton in November.

“Many of Sanders’ supporters do not agree with electing Clinton but who else are they going to vote for? Trump?” said Kathryn Petner, a Gloucester Township politician.

Claudine Wrisley, a Camden County College student, agreed. “Hillary Clinton is the only sane option we have in keeping justice within the Oval Office,” Wrisley said. “Unfortunately, it won’t be Sanders but we can’t always have our cake and eat it too.”

Other Sanders supporters believe they should not vote for Clinton or Trump.

“On the flip side, you will have people who will not vote for either one,” Petner said. “These people believe that both are wrong in their own ways.”

John Angeloni, who manages a family business in Sewell, stated, “At this point I’m voting for nobody. (Clinton and Trump) both have issues. I agree that both are wrong for different reasons. I cannot have a clear conscience and vote for either one.”

Some Republicans think the campaign would have been tougher if Sanders were the Democratic candidate, Petner said.

Myles Vitagliano, a Camden County College student and Republican voter, is one of them. “My gut tells me that if Bernie won the 2016 election nomination, it would have been an uphill battle for Trump,” Vitagliano stated. “Trump and Sanders both share many views when it comes to the structure of our government. They both believe that the wealthy businessmen of America should get their paws out of the American democracy and stop funding the candidates. When the emails were leaked, some of the Sanders supporters saw that Clinton’s investors rigged it in her favor and backed Trump. This gave him more of the college vote.”

Also, social media is keeping Sanders in the discussion, Petner said. “Even though Sanders may not be in the big picture, his ideologies still play a role in the political pictures and posts.”

Pro-Sanders social media groups are using memes to send propaganda. One photo shows “The Simpsons” introduction of Bart Simpson writing “The terribleness of Trump does not make Clinton an acceptable candidate” on a chalkboard.

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