Democrats should be worried about the split between Sanders and Clinton supporters

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tags: Hillary Clinton, election 2016, Bernie Sanders

Unity is, of course, a problem for both parties. Whatever bad feelings might exist between Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton, they pale in contrast to the Republican side, where Donald J. Trump has warned of violence in the streets should any of his opponents, including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, end up with the nomination. Mr. Trump seems to be becoming aware of his own divided-party challenges, with his deferential reference to “Senator Cruz,” rather than “Lyin’ Ted” in his New York victory speech.

But Priscilla Southwell, a professor of political science at the University of Oregon who has written extensively on party divisions, said historically this has been more a Democratic problem than a Republican one. “I call it the politics of disgruntlement,” she said. “Backers of the candidate tend to stay home or vote for the other party. Highly contested nominations hurt the party.”

“I think the Democratic Party needs to be worried,” Ms. Southwell added. “Many of these Sanders voters are first-time voters. They are the ones who will feel the kind of psychological aspects of this, the sense of disgruntlement, and stay home.”

In a CBS News poll this month, 24 percent of Mr. Sanders’s supporters said they would not support Mrs. Clinton should she win the nomination. Among Republicans, 32 percent of Mr. Trump’s supporters said they would not support Mr. Cruz in a general election; 27 percent of Mr. Cruz’s backers said they would not vote for Mr. Trump in November.

Read entire article at NYT

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