Seth Meyers' Bernie Or Bust Segment Deserves Another Watch — VIDEO
On Thursday evening, Jimmy Fallon will interview Bernie Sanders on the Tonight Show. Sanders was a force to be reckoned with during the Democratic primary, but he's been been relatively quiet since Hillary Clinton won the nomination, and this will be his most high-profile public appearance since speaking at the Democratic National Convention. But it won't be the first time late-night TV has tackled the Democratic Socialist from Vermont: Seth Meyers' Bernie or Bust segment from July is a classic from this campaign season, and is every bit as relevant now as it was then.
Bernie or Bust is a faction of Sanders supporters that, during the Democratic primary, pledged to not vote for Hillary Clinton if she won the nomination. This struck fear into the hearts of many Democrats, who feared that, in a close race, even a small defection of potential Clinton voters could effectively hand the presidency to Donald Trump.
But although they made quite a bit of noise at the Democratic convention, the Bernie or Bust contingent now seems to have had a bit more bark than bite: According to a July poll, 90 percent of longtime Sanders supporters will be voting for Clinton in November. Still, this doesn't mean that the movement isn't still a threat to Clinton. National polls now show her neck-and-neck with Trump, so even a very small fraction of Sanders supporters could tip the election to Trump if they don't back Clinton.
In July, Meyers made an appeal to Sanders holdouts, and while he was sometimes harsh, he absolutely hit the nail on the head.
"Donald Trump is ahead in the polls. The house is on fire — stop crying because we're not putting it out with your hose," Meyers pleaded. "We are on the cusp of electing a racist demagogue, and that never ends well. I don't know which class you ditched to go to those Bernie rallies, but I have a feeling it was history."
Meyers likened Bernie or Busters to "a Cavaliers fan who boos at the game because LeBron dunks with the wrong hand," then added that "oh wait, that would never happen, because that is ridiculous." He also addressed the perception amongst some on the left that voting for Clinton is pointless because Trump is destined to lose the election anyway.
"I know what you're going to say: I don't know anyone who's planning to vote for Trump," Meyers said. "Oh you don't? Did you ask everybody in your yoga class? Did you check with the entire drum circle? Because guess what: You know how you have that crazy uncle you only see at Thanksgiving? Well, this country is about 48 percent crazy uncles, and it's about to be Thanksgiving all day, every day."
It's too soon to say what effect, if any, the Bernie or Bust faction will have on the election, and the confrontational tone Meyers adopted in his monologue may not be productive in convincing many of the holdouts to vote for Clinton. But he nevertheless articulated why it's both illogical and dangerous for those who ostensibly support Sanders' policies to risk a Trump presidency by not lining up behind Clinton, and gave voice to the frustrations that many on the left — such as the 90 percent of Sanders supporters who are now backing Clinton — have with the Bernie or Bust movement.
"Look, I get disappointment," Meyers said towards the end. "I couldn't get Rhianna to go out with me. But I don't stand in the kitchen and boo my wife."