Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican nominee Donald Trump defied expectations in their respective anti-establishment presidential races. However, the “political revolution” did not translate to the congressional level this summer.
Sen. Sanders, more so than Trump, supported congressional candidates. The Vermont senator sent out fundraising emails to supporters asking them to donate to candidates he has endorsed. “Our movement is so powerful that we can change congressional elections overnight. Let’s keep going,” Sanders wrote in a June email.
The candidates Sanders backed were: Lucy Flores, Zephyr Teachout, Tim Canova, Eric Kingson, Paul Clements, and Pramila Jayapril. Three of the six candidates won their primary — one of them, Clements, did it running unopposed. The most high profile progressive Sanders supported was Canova, who was running against former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Wasserman Schultz ended up winning the race with 56.8 percent of the vote. The Florida representative had to step down as DNC chair after leaked emails showed her resentment towards Sanders, she was still able to escape the revolution’s wrath.
Donald Trump did not endorse any primary challengers. However, two of them, Paul Nehlen and Kelli Ward, ran effectively as “Trump candidates.” Nehlen attempted to defeat House Speaker Paul Ryan and ran what seemed like a Trump campaign at the congressional level. He’s a former businessman and used sharp rhetoric against Ryan, having said the House Speaker “sold his soul to the globalists.” Even after Trump endorsed Ryan after stalling for a bit, Nehlen said Trump “showed leadership.”
While Trump-friendly Breitbart hyped up the primary race as being close, Ryan blew out Nehlen 85 percent to 15 percent. Breitbart also devoted heavy coverage to Ward’s run against McCain. Ward said if Trump and her were elected they would be a unstoppable force.” McCain ended up defeatin Ward 51.7 percent to 39.2 percent