Southern Humboldt supporters of Bernie Sanders were somber on Wednesday, the day after Hillary Clinton won the California primary and became the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
True, the county as a whole went for Sanders big time, by a margin of 68 percent to 31 percent for Hillary Clinton. No other county in the state backed Sanders by such a large margin in the Democratic primary.
But statewide it was a different story, with Clinton clocking in at 55.8percent compared to 43.2 percent for Sanders. That’s a significantly larger margin of victory than recent polls predicted.
The surprisingly easy Clinton victory left a number of prominent local Sanders supporters puzzled and suspicious.
“I’m still in shock. Is the system corrupt? This makes me feel like it is,” said Redway resident Cindy Robbins, the creator of a “Southern Humboldt for Bernie Sanders” Facebook page.
When asked if she was suggesting that Clinton’s large margin of victory was the result of voter fraud, Robbins said: “I am.”
“It’s hard for me to believe it’s real,” she added.
Charlotte Silverstein, owner of Garden of Beadin’ and another avid Sanders supporter, raised similar questions about the integrity of the vote. She also admitted to being somewhat stunned.
“I’m still a little flabbergasted that he didn’t win California,” she said.
Gillian Brown, who like Robbins lives in Redway, said the fact that the Associated Press named Clinton the presumptive nominee Monday night contributed to Sanders’s defeat.
She said people who otherwise would have voted for Sanders likely decided not to bother, suppressing the turnout for the Vermont senator.
“It was an example of how elections can be manipulated,” Brown said.
As for what they think, or at least hope, will happen next, Silverstein had this to say. “I hope and pray that Hillary Clinton will say that the only way to unite the party is to have Bernie Sanders be her running mate and adopt some of his policies.”
Brown, for her part, said that despite Sanders’s defeat, now is not the time to give up.
“I’m not backing down from supporting Bernie all through the convention. Those of us who are his campaign people will keep on going. He’s been getting lots of donations and support.”
Referring to Clinton, she added: “We don’t want someone who’s a criminal and [supports] fracking and war.”
Nonetheless, if Clinton wins the White House, Brown is optimistic that, just as Hillary Clinton became President Obama’s Secretary of State after losing the election to him, Sanders could be a part of her administration.
“He came from nowhere and won something like 24 states. Maybe he won’t become president unless lawyers prove the rigging of elections. But he will be in a strong place to be part of the government.”
Robbins said Sanders “should fight till the end.”
“Maybe she’ll get indicted for her emails. Maybe then people would look at Bernie Sanders again.”
But if that doesn’t happen, Robbins confessed that she wasn’t sure what she would do come November.
“I don’t know how I can vote for Hillary Clinton. And I’ll never vote for Donald Trump.”
Full Humboldt County election results: http://www.humboldtgov.org/DocumentCenter/View/55272