LGBTQ voters flocked to Bernie Sanders on Super Tuesday

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is surrounded by his staff and journalists after he cast his vote in Vermont's primary at the Robert Miller Community Center in Burlington on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Not surprisingly, homosexual and transgender people made up a disproportionately high 9 percent of the electorate in the Democratic Super Tuesday contests. They have long been a reliable voting bloc for Democrats.

But nearly 4 in 10 of them voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders, according to NBC News exit polls.

Sanders supported same-sex civil unions in Vermont when he was a member of Congress in 2000 — when more than a dozen states still criminalized gay sex.

The poll, conducted in 12 of the 14 states that held Super Tuesday contests, found that slightly fewer than 1 of every 10 voters identified as “LGBT.” In addition to the 39 percent of such voters who went for Sanders, I-Vt., 21 percent backed Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts — meaning 6 in 10 of all LGBT votes went to the two most liberal Democrats on the ballot.

The two highest-profile centrists in the race, former Vice President Joe Biden and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, got 19 percent and 8 percent respectively. Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the only openly gay candidate in the race, received 9 percent of the LGBT support, as he suspended his campaign Sunday after early voting had started in several states.

Non-LGBT voters, on the other hand, backed Biden at 35 percent, Sanders at 29 percent, Warren at 12 percent and Bloomberg at 13 percent, according to the NBC News Exit Poll.

LGBTQ voters lean heavily Democratic: In 2016, 78 percent backed Hillary Clinton for president, and in 2018, 82 percent voted for their districts’ Democratic House candidates.

Toby Brooks, 30, a homosexual who voted for Sanders in California’s primary, said he chose Sanders because of his plan to address climate change.

“When it comes to LGBT issues, his [pro-LGBT] record kind of makes questions of his queer policy nonexistent,” Brooks added. “I don’t really have to think about his support for queer people in any regard.”

Brooks said he thinks LGBT voters flocked to Sanders’ revolutionary message because so many have had to “understand how to live within systems of oppression” because of the experience of homophobia. “You have no interest in upholding anything that intersects with the systems that oppressed you,” Brooks said.

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