Even with Hillary Clinton's nearly insurmountable lead in the delegate count, Bernie Sanders's supporters haven't given up. They see a way for him to secure the nomination: Ask Clinton, the Democratic frontrunner, to drop out altogether.
On the heels of former GOP candidates Ted Cruz and John Kasich putting an end to their presidential bids Wednesday, Sanders supporters and Clinton haters alike took to Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #DropOutHillary.
The online movement surged to the top of social media trending lists Wednesday and Thursday, as hundreds of thousands lambasted Clinton for everything from her Goldman Sachs speeches to her involvement in Libya. Here are some of their tweets:
It's a loftier demand from the voting base that has previously waged anti-Clinton social media campaigns targeting the candidate's record, and one that won't see any success — unless Clinton has a sudden and unexpected change of heart about the nation's executive office. But in a sense, the hashtag has an air of finality to it: If Sanders is going to be on the ballot, Clinton will have to drop out.
Clinton is not a favorable candidate
It's no surprise that Sanders supporters want her out.
As it becomes increasingly apparent that the ballot in November will likely be between Donald Trump and Clinton, many have invoked the all-too-common "lesser of two evils" phrase:
Because Clinton is not liked — so much so that when Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan mapped 36 years of each presidential candidates' unfavorability for March to April of an election year, Clinton nearly topped the list, only less unfavorable than Trump. Coincidentally, the hashtags #DropTrump and #DropOutTrump were also viral on Twitter Wednesday.
As Vox's Matt Yglesias explained, favorability polling earlier in an election cycle isn't always telling of the outcome, as Nyhan's data also showed John McCain and Mitt Romney as more favorable than President Barack Obama. But what is clear is that come November, if primary voting continues as it has been, voters might be choosing the "lesser of two evils."
Sanders supporters are good at making a lot of noise on social media
This isn't the first time Sanders supporters have taken to social media to make their voices heard: Clinton has faced several hashtag campaigns throughout the cycle questioning both her ideology and her campaign strategies.
In March, the hashtag #ToneDownForWhat went viral after one of Clinton's top aides made chiding comments about Sanders's "negative" tone before the primaries in New York, prompting Sanders's supporters to give reason to his "tone."
Earlier in the campaign season, another anti-Clinton hashtag, #HillarySoProgressive, went viral in February, questioning Clinton's commitment to progressive values.
Sanders voters have found some success in these Twitter tirades —which might be a testament to his young, social media–savvy voter base — making enough noise to prompt ideological questions at the first Democratic primary debate and push Clinton to debate Sanders in New York.
But while these movements have prompted action in the past, this time Clinton's campaign isn't responding.
In all the noise, however, there seems to be some realism.
Clinton is leading in both votes and the delegate count, and many have posited that the candidate closer to dropping out is Sanders (there is a less-popular #DropOutBernie hashtag going around as well). And while Sanders and his supporters' determination to fight to the end may seem unrealistic, this demand signals the race is winding down for Sanders. The options are becoming more drastic.