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Hillary Clinton and also Bernie Sanders had very different records over the years on financial policy, and also their best-informed surrogates reflect the division. But a massive new pile of research study from the Voter Study team on what really happened in the 2016 election shows that amongst rank-and-file Democrats, over there isn’t much of a systematic disagreement about economic policy. The real divide is around American national politics itself.

Clinton supporters were basically happy v the United states of America, the American politics system, and the trajectory for human being like themselves in ~ it. Sanders supporters, by contrast, to be not, and also Clinton’s various leftward feints top top policy could not resolve that gap.

That distinction makes it lot harder to bridge a divide, due to the fact that it’s tough to split the difference roughly the concern of even if it is or not facility politics is fundamentally corrupt. A left-wing economic message can be co-opted by much more moderate politicians and can have its rough edges sanded off in pragmatic search of electoral victory. But it doesn’t address the basic divide, i m sorry is less around concrete plans than around abstract principles like corruption that politics.

Clinton fans and also Sanders pan were similar on policy

Here is a key chart native the Voter Study group looking in ~ how proclaimed opinions on assorted matters associated with a tendency to have a favorable check out of Clinton or Sanders (or Barack Obama, for included context).

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Voter Study team A an essential takeaway here is that on major economic plan issues, over there is no clean difference in between the two candidates’ supporters. Both Clinton voters and also Sanders voter are an extremely worried about economic inequality and moderately supportive of government intervention in the economy and of liberal positions on moral issues.

On various other issues, mild differences are visible. In spite of the Clinton campaign’s emphasis on identification politics themes, Sanders backers space slightly more to the left in their mindset toward afri Americans, immigrants, and gender roles. And also despite the Sanders campaign’s emphasis on the welfare state, Clinton backers are further to the left ~ above the prominence of social Security and Medicare. But critically, over there is a most overlap in between both candidates’ camps on every one of these topics.

There’s a big difference top top trade, yet then a yawning void on attitudes toward America itself.

Clinton fans and also Sanders fans watch America differently

Compared with Sanders supporters, voters through a favorable check out of Clinton space much less likely come view national politics as a rigged game, much more likely come express proud in America, and also much less likely come express the view that “people prefer me” room in decline.

That stress was extremely visible at the 2016 democratic convention. The Clinton and also Sanders camps had actually some difficult discussions top top the party’s platform committee, but ultimately crafted an agenda the both sides can enthusiastically support. The speeches from the convention floor, however, revealed a distinguishable contrast in between optimistic, upbeat speeches native Clinton and the Obama families and things like Elizabeth Warren darkly warning that “people acquire it: the system is rigged.”

At the end of the day, also if the simple prescriptions to be broadly similar — a higher minimum wage, much more stringent regulation that banks, greater taxes top top the rich, more subsidization of higher education and health care — the diagnoses to be in some means diametrically opposed, with Clinton see a beneficent American facility threatened v disruption through the unruly pressures unleashed by Donald Trump and also Sanders see a essentially fallen nation in dire need of redemption.

Those thematic and also atmospheric arguments plague the party to today in part because the diagnosis the the political mechanism as a entirety is rigged — together opposed to the GOP simply being poor — plays as an indictment of countless leading Democrats, a diagnosis they naturally reject. On the various other hand, through Democrats now almost entirely locked the end of political power, it might be much easier going front to unify about a dark message than it was in 2016 v Obama in the White House.

Opposition usually makes unity easier

Out that office, parties often uncover that nothing renders it less complicated to come with each other than a common enemy. And also the certain thematic dissonance between the Clinton and Sanders camps might be in some ways an especially amenable to this kind of reconciliation.

At the moment, ~ all, politics in the United states is basically whatever the Republican Party makes of it. And it’s simple for facility Democrats come rally around the notion that things favor Senate Republicans keeping their health treatment bill mystery or the Trump management issuing mystery waivers come negate their own values rules reflect a rigged system. Likewise, democracy of every stripes are going to find that “people choose me” no well-represented in Trump’s Washington.

The handy issue, come the extent that there is one, is much more likely to arise if Democrats ever before take power again. Candidate Obama ran on a post promising fundamental change to the method Washington worked. He then proceeded come govern as a reasonably conventional inside player who concentrated on obtaining things done according to the developed rules of the game. The void that opened up up between message and also reality really much mirrors the gap between the worldview the the Sanders and also Clinton camps.

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And also if Democrats gain a opportunity to covering again, the basic selection will happen again — execute Democrats want to talk around reforming the system, or execute they want to actually perform it.