The Queer Case for Bernie Sanders


Coming out of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, the two top contenders for the Democratic nomination are Bernie Sanders, a straight white guy pushing 80 years old, and Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay man 40 years his junior. Despite their ages, the candidates don’t represent conventional wisdom on how age begets conservative thinking, and their support reflects that. Younger likely voters who are Democrats prefer Sanders by wide margins to Buttigieg, who is so much closer to their age. And age isn’t the only demographic where who supports these dueling Democrats might be surprising; Democratic likely voters who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender also prefer the old heterosexual white guy to the gay candidate. Just before the Iowa caucuses, a Morning Consult national poll found that Sanders was the leading choice among LGBTQ+ Democratic primary voters with 34% of queer support, compared to Joe Biden’s 29% and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s 19%. Pete Buttigieg — the only openly gay candidate running (and first to have this level of success) — got a scant 12%.

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