CLEVELAND ― When Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination on Thursday, he included an appeal to supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
“I have seen firsthand how the system is rigged against our citizens, just like it was rigged against Bernie Sanders,” Trump said. “He never had a chance, never had a chance. But his supporters will join our movement because we will fix his biggest single issue: trade deals that strip our country of its jobs and strip us of our wealth as a country.”
Earlier in the speech, he referenced Sanders’ criticisms of presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Trump has been making such comments for months, an appeal to the many people who think that Clinton and her allies unfairly steamrolled Sanders’ campaign. He said in April that Sanders would “do great” in an independent bid and that he has a “message that’s interesting.”
“To all of those Bernie Sanders voters who have been left out in the cold by a rigged system of superdelegates, we welcome you with open arms,” Trump said in June, adding that he appreciated Sanders’ view on trade.
There’s not much evidence that many supporters of Sanders will flock to Trump, even if the two candidates tapped into similar frustrations about the economy. Sanders and Trump have very little in common politically, and their supporters don’t really, either.
Immediately after Sanders endorsed Clinton, a number of his prominent backers announced they would support her, too. A poll from Pew Research Center this month indicates that Trump’s efforts to win over Sanders voters is likely to be a bust. Eighty-five percent of Sanders’ Democratic and Democratic-leaning supporters said they will vote for Clinton in the general election. Only 9 percent said they would vote for Trump.