Jeremy Corbyn's performance inspires Bernie Sanders supporters to ask once again: 'What if?'

The hashtag #BernieWouldHaveWon is circulating on social media following the UK election results

Emily Shugerman
New York
Friday 09 June 2017 19:18
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The shock UK election result has inspired Bernie Sanders supporters to begin re-circulating their favourite rallying cry on social media - the hashtag “#BernieWouldHaveWon".

The phrase became popular after the US presidential election as it suggested that the veteran Vermont Senator would have defeated Donald Trump if he had been the Democratic nominee instead of Hillary Clinton.

Mr Sanders supporters feel the independent politician was written off, stereotyped and maligned by the establishment – traits he shares with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.

But after Mr Corbyn's party won considerably more seats than predicted in the recent general election, the claim about Mr Sanders has re-emerged.

“Corbyn is way to the left of Bernie, smeared more by the media (& Bernie has way more legislative accomplishments),” Lee Fang, a reporter with the Intercept website, tweeted. “Bernie would have won.”

Both Mr Sanders and Mr Corbyn call themselves socialists and both generated impressive grassroots support during their campaigns. Both are more left wing than the average politician in their home countries.

Mr Corbyn wants to nationalise all British railways; Mr Sanders advocated for a single-payer healthcare system. Both men want to make university tuition free.

And both, it turns out, had massive support from younger voters.

The latest polling shows British voters ages 18-34 voted Labour by a margin of 63-27 per cent. More young voters in the US voted for Mr Sanders than Mr Trump and Ms Clinton – combined.

But Sanders supporters say their candidate’s far-left views drove the Democratic establishment to undercut his campaign.

Leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) showed there may have been some bias against Mr Sanders, in favour of Hillary Clinton.

Mr Sanders' fans see the UK election as an example of what could have been, had the Democratic establishment accept their candidate.

“Wow it's almost like people would vote for a socialist candidate if he wasn't blocked by a liberal oligarch!” one frustrated US voter tweeted.

More broadly, the UK election results show that support exists for more radical, lefitist views. After a year dominated by words like “populism” and ”nationalism,” many Sanders supporters – and even Mr Sanders himself – see this as an encouraging sign.

"All over the world people are rising up against austerity and massive levels of income and wealth inequality," Mr Sanders told The Washington Post. "People in the UK, the US and elsewhere want governments that represent all the people, not just the one per cent.

“I congratulate Jeremy Corbyn for running a very positive and effective campaign."

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