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What Samantha Bee gets wrong about Bernie Sanders supporters

Bernie Sanders has endorsed Hillary Clinton. So why aren’t his supporters following his lead? That was the big question on Monday’s episode of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

Reporter Allana Harkin interviewed various "Bernie or Bust" protesters at the Democratic National Convention and came away utterly perplexed that they weren’t hopping on board with Clinton now that Sanders has, too. (According to some polls, 25 percent of Sanders supporters don’t plan to support her.)

But is this really so perplexing?

I also asked a number of Sanders supporters this question in Philadelphia. And their reasoning didn’t strike me as all that confusing: They say they were far more committed to the political values behind the Sanders campaign than to Sanders himself. And they see Clinton as fundamentally opposed to those goals. (Many Sanders supporters, for instance, believe Clinton is still to their right on foreign policy and free trade, and there’s reason to suspect they’re right.) So there’s no reason they should automatically follow Sanders here. It’s that simple.

"This movement is bigger than [Sanders]," Alicia Seay, 28, an organizer of one "Bernie or Bust" rally, told me. "He couldn’t go that extra mile, but he allowed us to take it forward without him."

Or, as my former Vox colleague Emmett Rensin argued in July in Newsweek, "Sanders was only a vehicle for their political values. Now that he has conceded his fight for those values, he should be abandoned as a vehicle."

One genuinely difficult question for the "Bernie or Bust" crowd is whether they’re willing to risk a Donald Trump presidency that many fear would be an unmitigated disaster for racial and religious minorities just to oppose Clinton. (To her credit, Harkin does ask some Bernie supporters about this.) Another difficult question is what the "Bernie or Busters" make of Sanders now that he himself has endorsed a candidate they despise.

But it’s no great mystery why Sanders’s endorsement hasn’t convinced all of his supporters to get behind Clinton. To the "Bernie or Bust" crowd, it made sense to back Sanders when he was working for the ideas they supported. If they don’t think endorsing Clinton will continue to advance those ideas, why would they continue to follow his lead?