Hobgoblins and Trolls: Why I Will Not Vote for Bernie Sanders in the Primary

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 “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance.

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the term “Bro” has problematic connotations. Since I have been called a “neoliberal shill” by men and women equally, I cede the point. Therefore I have changed every instance of “Bro” in this piece to “Bernsplainer” and trust that will resolve any controversy. – BD

This morning, The Hill, eager to inflate their comments ratio, giggled about Hillary Clinton’s poor opinion of Bernie Sanders, his leadership team, and his record in Congress. Not only is this “hot-take” irrelevant to anything happening in the primary generally or in the impeachment trial today, it provides another opportunity for Bernie’s most avid supporters to pile on Hillary Clinton (who, it should be noted, is neither running in the primary OR currently on trial in the Senate) for alleged warmongering, pizza-pedophilia, corporate Shrillary K$llton rigging of EVERYTHING. And of course it’s working: the comments are aflame with rage.

Unfortunately, Clinton’s well-earned and, in my opinion, correct position will be overshadowed by the gleeful hand-wringing of the punditry that this “controversy” is evidence that the Left is deeply divided at its core. Good golly, how many times must we hear that old tune? Since when has any Democrat been unable to articulate its party’s positions? I’ll go: Yes to decent, affordable health care for as many people as possible. Yes to living wage, affordable college for those who want it. Yes to reproductive freedom. Yes to sensible gun legislation. Yes to equal justice under the law. There’s more, but we all say the same stuff. We can also articulate the Republican platform: No to alla that, plus yes to tax breaks for the wealthy, yes to punitive policies toward the poor, and yes to protecting their power at all costs.

Whatever you think of the New York Times Editorial Board’s 2020 Presidential Endorsement, they are correct in observing that:

“Nearly any [candidate] would be the most progressive president in decades on issues like health care, the economy and government’s allocations of resources. Where they differ most significantly is not the what but the how… “

I am a left-wing Democrat. Always have been. In high school, after Jimmy Carter resumed the draft, I advocated for our school to bring in a conscientious objector to provide a counterpoint to our annual, mandatory Army-recruitment assembly. Like any white, middle-class teenage “radical,” I felt perfectly comfortable shouting my arguments at the conservative principal of my purple-district, suburban school and even accused him of being a tool of the government war machine. And yet, he was unpersuaded. Since then I have learned to read the room, to tailor a message, to listen to opposing points of view, and even to reconsider some of my positions based on evidence. Never in so doing has one ounce of my colossal reservoir of outrage been diminished. To me, this is a sign of maturity; I don’t have to scream at anybody. To the vocal cadre of purists, however, a nuanced position is evidence of a deep-seated neoliberal corporatism that undergirds a misguided insistence on an agenda of identity politics that will only get Trump reelected.

OK, Berner.

This year will mark my ninth vote in a presidential primary and election. Over three-dozen years, five states, and one foreign country. In spite of deeply-held views on LGBT equality, the barbarism of capital punishment, wanting sensible gun legislation, opposing the attack on unions, racial disparities in sentencing, demonization of the poor, systematic voter suppression, and the dismantling of women’s reproductive freedom, I have had to vote Democratic in every single election. HAD TO. Clinton (the handsy one, not his wife) enacted policies that had direct negative effects on me personally and were anathema to me politically, but I voted for him. Why? Because George H. W. Bush was objectively worse on everything else I cared about. Am I still enraged by Joe Biden’s treatment of Anita Hill during the Thomas hearings? Boy howdy. Will I run to the polls to vote for him in 2020? Hold my beer.

What the hardcore Sandernistas fail to grok is that Bernie, for many people, is depressingly old school. Does he remind me of some activist white men of his generation who treated women in the movement as coffee-getters, stenographers, envelope stuffers, and only considered liberation in terms of sexual availability? Sure does! Does it surprise me that Bernie gets annoyed when he is forced to acknowledge that systemic racism will still be a Thing after millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share? Sure doesn’t! Am I grateful that he is a pain in everybody’s ass in the Senate when it comes to getting legislation I agree with passed? Sure am because that’s where this curmudgeonly, progressive old grand-pappy does his best work.

Will I vote for him in the general election? Of course.

But, Bern Units, this constant haranguing has got to stop. My lack of enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders is based on my own lived experience and observations as a human on this earth, not because I haven’t heard the Good News of his Mystical Perfection and Rightness in All Things. Yea, though I have borne witness to the miracle of the bird, I do not care.

birdmeme
Jesus.

I feel for the New York Times Editorial Board. They took the unusual step of endorsing two candidates instead of rallying behind just one and are getting some pretty amusing blowback for it.  Of all the primary candidates left, I have to agree that Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar are worthy of endorsement, imperfect though they may be. Sure, Warren has a golden-retriever-like enthusiasm I find both adorable and irritating* and Klobuchar has, like, anti-charisma, but whatever; they have a good legislative track-record and policies I support.

What the New York Times did not do is endorse Bernie Sanders and I am here for it. While I agree with a lot of his positions, I am concerned that Bernie has never been seriously vetted over his legislative record or how he’ll pay for his plans. Nor has Sanders built a grassroots movement of any consequence, even though he insists such a movement will be critical to advancing his national progressive agenda. What I do see is an unchecked, cult-like following that not only refuses to acknowledge even the slightest flaw in their candidate, but attacks en masse any criticism of Bernie or policy disagreement with a viciousness, toxicity, and divisiveness rivaled only by the MAGA crowd.

No thank you.

We already have a chief executive whose followers took him seriously but not literally, who can’t take criticism, and who has not changed his political beliefs in 50 years. Again, I agree with Bernie on many things, but he clings to the idea that class is the source of all our problems, despite tangible evidence to the contrary. He has a tendency to dismiss racism, misogyny, and homophobia as “social issues” less deserving of his attention. All  are vestiges of a 70s progressivism that does nothing to inform the moment we are in.

Trump has proven that there is a significant portion of the electorate that has no idea how our system of government works or why our republic is unique among all nations. Team Sanders, for example, was profoundly ignorant of the primary process, the existing rules of the Democratic Party, and the workings of the electoral college in 2016. They didn’t get the memo, so they called it “rigged.” The MAGA crowd believes anything Fox tells them about the limits of executive power, even if it is the exact opposite of what they were told about President Obama. Worst of all, one of our two political parties is willing to abdicate its power as a co-equal branch of government to a lawless administration for the sole purpose of tilting the balance of the third branch of government toward a theocratic, anti-poor, anti-labor, white-supremacist Constitutional worldview. Against the will of the majority, for at least a generation.

I want a president I can criticize without incurring the white hot wrath of the faithful telling me how wrong I am about Dear Leader. Look, no one feels that way about Amy Klobuchar or Elizabeth Warren. Neither one of them is anybody’s savior, they do good work, and they can take a punch. That’s who should be president: nobody’s favorite and nobody’s fool.

Meanwhile, the Bernsplainers and Bots are busy pushing #NeverWarren on Twitter right now, because she criticized Bernie for saying something that sounded like he thought a woman couldn’t win in 2020. Bernie claims he expressed concern because of how dirty Trump will play. Here’s the thing: a woman beat Sanders by 4 million votes and Trump by 3 million, and both campaigns were the sorest losers and sorest winners, respectively, this country has ever seen.

If Bernie is truly interested in the Office, he needs to come get his people.

#HeWon’t.

Bernie Sanders is nothing if not consistent.

 

 


*  as I would a Warren-like energy in a golden retriever

Author: Beth Daniels

DC writer | Old movies. Old Washington. Any old thing.

65 thoughts on “Hobgoblins and Trolls: Why I Will Not Vote for Bernie Sanders in the Primary”

    1. He’s currently my favorite candidate, although I do prefer others’ positions on various points about some of his policies (e.g. I prefer Warren’s take on the filibuster, and I thought Harris had a more robust M4A plan), but this article contains some real falsehoods.

      For example, saying that Bernie hasn’t been vetted over his legislative record after the rigorous HRC/Bernie debates of the 2016 primary, and the crowded, contentious primary we are now midway through is preposterous. Either Bernie or Biden has the longest, most vetted record in the primary.
      Secondly, the statement that “he hasn’t built a grassroots movement of any consequence” while he has held the largest rallies of any of the 2020 nominees (http://bit.ly/2GBAc92), and has simultaneously broken quarterly fundraising records with a sub-$20 average donation (http://bit.ly/36yI8T3), doesn’t pass the smell test either.

      The idea that Bernie dismisses homophobia, racism, and misogyny as central and important vectors of inequality is a wildly misleading claim. What might be closer to the truth is that he sees battling economic inequalities as the way that is most accessible to the levers of government in order to simultaneously address the other intersecting modes of oppression. Reasonable people may disagree with that belief, but it isn’t one that can be dismissed out of hand either.

      Finally, this writer must be living under a rock to claim that Bernie hasn’t thoroughly explained how he’ll pay for his policies. It’s right on his campaign website, where it’s always been (http://bit.ly/36FoR2i). It’s an obvious question, and one he has had an answer to since before he began the 2016 campaign.

      The assertion that his supporters are “cult-like”, that they “refuse[s] to acknowledge even the slightest flaw in their candidate” does not track with my own experience. Every supporter I’ve talked to can name at least one thing in his platform that they may question or disagree with, they just see him as the candidate most aligned with their own values, and advocate for him on those grounds. That’s Democracy.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What I like about The Bernster is his interest in tweaking, if not overhauling the capitalistic system itself—his elixir is “capitalism is not all it’s cracked up to be. Bernie is in favor of deep structural changes. I agree with him.

    Warren is more focused on tweaking the capitalist system. She wants to “keep what works and work hard to fix what’s broken for the American people.”

    I agree with her too.

    Meanwhile, Amy Klobuchar is from my home town so you know who will get my vote. And her grandpa worked on the iron range just like my Dad.

    Thanks Beth for this provocative and enjoyable read.

    The tactics of insults, false sabotage and misleading statements is problematic (along with dark money) because the catcalls work better than civility.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I like Bernie, but he is just too old (as are Warren, Bloomberg, and Biden). I am 80, and I know old. I favor Buttigieg, Of course I will vote for whomever wins at the convention. Trump is the worst President USA ever had.

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      1. I’m a Buttigieg fan too, and I am having a hard time getting excited about any of the top three. Call me ageist, but the Democrats haven’t put a new president in the White House who was over 55 since Woodrow Wilson.

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    2. “Nor has Sanders built a grassroots movement of any consequence…”

      “What I do see is an unchecked, cult-like following that … attacks en masse any criticism of Bernie or policy disagreement…”

      How are these two things simultaneously possible?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Bernie does have a good grassroots operation and I am genuinely happy that he has motivated so many young voters (my adorable niece among them), but I’m not convinced they’re enough of a bloc to win a general election — particularly if they are not encouraged to vote blue if he is not the nominee.

        The vocal Bernsplainers on Twitter and FB are a small, obnoxious, unpersuasive subset of his supporters, who — in my opinion — will undo all Bernie’s good work in exciting the base, if they pull another “I’m taking my ball and going home” approach in 2020. Pouting is not progressive.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. We were encouraged, by him, even before he lost, to vote for another if he wasn’t the nominee. No such demands were placed on Clinton supporters or Clinton herself. We were told that speaking ill of the other candidate was divisive. Told that in this piece. When I spoke of why I wasn’t supporting Clinton in the primary I was attacked (my favorite by one hillbot (nice rebrand btw) who told me I was welcome to eat the peanuts from his sh*t and should grow up and called me a bag of mildewing badger nipples.

        Sigh. I keep writing and deleting because I’m exhausted, which I suspect is the purpose of going after sanders supporters. Perhaps, if the “Bernsplainers are all white males, it’s cuz they’re the only ones with the energy. Let’s see if Gloria Steinem comes back to attack
        us for Warrens team.

        If anyone is interested in how Sanders views racism (the issue most important to me) and his campaign in regards to it.

        https://berniesanders.com/issues/racial-justice/

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m pretty sure I acknowledged that Bernsplainers are not all white males and I am very sorry you were attacked by Hillary supporters during the last election. Truly. Hillary is not running so her opinion in this election is irrelevant. After the attacks on her campaign for losing — how bad it was and how unlikeable she is — I have a hard time imagining who would want to campaign with her this time around. I guess you and I agree at least that slamming someone viciously and personally for disagreeing with your chosen candidate is unacceptable.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Just today I witnessed three HRC reporters go after Sanders supporters based on “what they did to her” and “how they cost the election” And of course say that to support Sanders is sexist, like why she didn’t get elected (their view not mine) so I’m not certain the past is irrelevant.

        Also your stance about attacks is so reasonable I almost forgot you inferred he had a hobgoblin mind and his supporters are trolls.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If you manufacture a “Bro” narrative as the MSM and Clinton campaign have done under staff’s own admission,

    (link: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/21/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-attacks-netflix)

    (which by the way erases the experience and agency of millions of women and PoC who vote for Bernie more than any other candidate) and repeat it over and over people will believe it. All candidates have nice people and mean people online – there is nothing unique to Bernie followers.

    My awkwardly formatted intro aside, I’d like to engage here with directness but also with good faith.

    All those complaining about people being ‘mean’ and lacking ‘manners’ and therefore have issues with Sanders as a candidate are all too often simply middle class white liberals tone policing the poor and multiracial working class over matters of fundamental survival (healthcare, social security, income, equity) which he advocates for. “Someone said something mean to me on twitter so here’s why I’m going to take objection to this movement which is fundamentally about justice.”

    You could argue that is boils down to violence, in fact.

    Telling someone who is actively suffering injustice under an oppressive system in ways you cannot understand to calm down and be civil in the face of perceived slander, exclusion and mischaracterisation of their candidate (and thusly their hopes for a better life) is the equivalent of telling a woman she’s “being hysterical.”

    We might note that most struggles for rights which have harnessed anger as a vehicle of resistance often receive this treatment (stereotyping, mockery, labels of ‘thugs’, erasure) by the mainstream and establishment. Perhaps it’s important to consider our feelings in the context of a heated debate which is heavily skewed against the majority of the Sanders base and have a bit of understanding for their plight.

    You would do well to reflect on the idea that attacking, erasing or degrading his frustrated, often desperate base by repeating debunked talking points (and women constitute the Bernie base more than men) does little to quell the anger, it merely inflames and galvanises it as it did with Trump 2016.

    Good luck for the rest of the 2020 campaign,
    Jack

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are a liar.

      Black voters rejected your flaccid demagogue at rates well north of 90%. 4 million more actual voters voted for Clinton, as opposed to your dear leader’s “victories” in white-white, inherently racist-caucus states.

      You are a liar. Stop lying.

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      1. Nice to see all that civility on display.

        Older black voters did what they always do – vote for the Democrat they thought was most likely to beat the Republican. Since everyone in the world seemed to be saying that Sanders couldn’t win and Clinton was certain to win, they were always going to vote for Hillary.

        Black voters under 44 broke for Bernie Sanders.

        They did not “reject” Bernie Sanders and in fact he still polls with high popularity among black voters.

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    2. Actually, the majority of the Bernsplainers I’m seeing online are older, upper middle class white men with liberal pretensions…and NOT people experiencing injustice. At least those are the most vitrolic.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I really do not like the Bernie Bro narrative, especially since Sanders recently polled better among African-Americans than Biden and has a leadership staff that is overwhelmingly women (70%). Sander ‘s, for all his focus on economic inequality, an issue that strongly intersects with most ‘social issues’, has a long track record in support of women, queer people and people of color (a track record that is far superior to his main competition in the polls, Biden). Sander’s is a popular candidate who has a diverse following and I think that the whole Bernie Bro’s thing, with the attempt to make Sander’s supporters somehow seem both whiter and meaner than the followers of other candidates is really harmful to all the people supporting him that aren’t young white men.

    I agree on several of your other points though, specifically, I do not think that enough attention has been paid to how his plans are going to be paid for – that’s just me though.

    Anyway, here is an article that was written by an ex-Clinton staffer that speaks to this:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/21/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-attacks-netflix?fbclid=IwAR10lnca7QF0X6l0vWK0RNeIjEttWXqzPg4Z003uZbv88KeMbraVutp96gM

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I appreciate this article. I agree with some of your observations. I believe that the ‘bros’ you refer to are mainly white. They seem to be loud and also blindly speak for others who may be Sanders supporters as well. Tone policing applies to those ‘bros’ as well – as if only they control the narrative.

        I have yet to hear Killer Mike bloviate in this manner.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually think a lot of attention has been paid to how his plans are going to be paid for, but I hope you realize that this is something we normally didn’t do at all until the candidate was actually in the White House with all of the resources available to a president to study and hash-out how the thing is actually going to be done. Bernie is unique in actually having written a bill before even being nominated, let alone elected. JFK never said a word in public about how we would pay for going to the moon.

      The thing is, there are many different ways it could be done, from details to whether or not we actually need to ban competing health care programs to the myriad methods we could use to pay for it.

      For example, under Pay-Go, as Sanders has already said in answer to this question many times, we can pay for it with taxes. We can do this with a smallish tax on everyone who makes over $50K a year, or with a graduating tax, or with just some high taxes on the rich.

      Or we can do what we do with wars, which is put it “off-budget” and simply pay for it without measuring against other budget expenditures. Pay-Go can be waived at any time if Congress decides to do it. You’ll note that your taxes don’t suddenly go up every time we start another war or pass another ridiculous defense budget.

      So the more interesting question here is not, “How will we pay for it?” but, “Why do we only ask this question when it’s about making government serve the public, rather than to serve the military industry and the financial industry?”

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  4. Hi Jack,

    You have an excellent point about my problematic use of “Bro” as it is not only pejorative, it is inaccurate and not very helpful in advancing my point of view. Plenty of women have called me a “neoliberal corporatist shill,” so fair enough! I will change “Bro” wherever it appears in this piece and replace it with the more inclusive “Bernsplainer” and make a note that I did so and why. Your well-meaning bit of tone policing has taught me something and I thank you.

    What I will take issue with is your assumption that because I find the conduct of some of Bernie’s more zealous supporters objectionable it means that I am deaf to the cries of the oppressed and ignorant of the evils of racism, poverty, and injustice in this country. That’s quite a leap in logic! You know nothing about me, yet that’s where you land. Or that’s what you imply, at any rate. I have no desire to recount my activist history or career, what would be the point? It would also smack a bit of having to show you my papers…

    My objection to the haranguing from a certain quarter of Bernie’s supporters is not that it is “mean” or uncivil, it is that is lazy. It is dogma. Orthodoxy. Also (a bit like “Bro”) inaccurate and unhelpful. As if not supporting Bernie the man means not supporting ideology, full stop. I do, in fact, share Bernie’s ideology — have my entire life — but I do not have faith that he and he alone is the to achieve the progressive goals we share. For a guy who has been in the halls of power for more than 30 years, he hasn’t had much to show for it. He’s a great organizer who draws a really big crowd and has inspirational things to say, and I love it. But celebrity isn’t leadership. The president has to work with people they don’t agree with and govern ALL the people, not just those in the “movement.” He has great policies. How will he achieve them? Who will he work with to get there? How will he persuade those who need persuading?

    He’s just not my first choice.

    Thanks again for your feedback.

    Beth

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If he has nothing to show for his time in Congress, why is he called ‘the amendment king’ and why is it that his colleagues, both R’s & D’s, have always said he is the hardest working member of Congress? He has often written a bill but sought out another member to sponsor it, himself getting no notoriety for the work, because getting the bill passed was more important than himself getting credit for it.
      We live in a time where opinions and rumors mean more than facts of history.
      We are an oligarchy now. We choose in the Primaries this year if we are going to repair that or let it continue.
      Bernie is risking his life to over throw oligarchy. The others can be swayed to protect the status quo…that was here long before Trump.

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  5. Hey again Beth,

    Thanks for the considered response. I really must commend you for your grace in reconsidering some of your approach. It’s refreshing to have a positive dialogue about the issues.

    I suppose in recanting some of my earlier points, it was never my intention to paint you as someone who is dismissive of the struggles of the working class, (I, like you, am middle-class) my point mostly and truly pertained to the concept of ‘tone’ and the way in which it informs our approach to the discussion. For you and I, I assume, healthcare is not a matter of life and death. Nor are issues of poverty, or issues of upward mobility and general marginalisation. Many of Bernie’s enthusiastic supporters do or have experienced these problems so one might expect them to become rather aggressive online in response to what they perceive happening in certain circumstances such as, currently:

    Hillary Clinton going in to attack Sanders in a very cynical, nasty way at a crucial moment in his campaign after a competitive 2016 which saw many of Sanders working class base alienated by the DNC through super-delegates and elite corporate media. These feelings of being marginalised tend to do some pretty crazy things to people who will then go on the defensive and I will admit, at certain times, feel under attack everywhere even where no threat lies necessarily. My point is, essentially, that Bernie supporters are not only ‘overly enthusiastic,’ but they are wild with anger at the injustice they face, scared for their futures and feel betrayed by mainstream Democrats who have rearranged the seats on the Titanic since the neoliberal revolution under Reagan and then the Clintons who wholeheartedly continued that notorious legacy.

    They find hope in a Sanders presidency. And now to address your question of ‘how’? Well it’s a good one. But I’m very confident with the developing grassroots movement inspired by rising levels of participation by a re-enfranchised independent and non-voter base, you will see public outcry and fury at any establishment attempts to block popularly mandated reform such as Medicare for All. As he did as mayor of Burlington, he relied of a tsunami of public rage at the attempts of the councils to undermine his Mayorship to overwhelm the system as successive elections and nominations to enact his promised change and shatter the resistant ‘swamp’.

    My intention is not necessarily to sway you to the Sanders camp, but simply to paint a picture of the exhaustion and grief for the current situation, but also an uncompromising, implacable hope for a better future for many of the angry subset of his supporters and demonstrate how it can be done.

    Thanks for engaging in such great faith and truly I do wish you good luck for the 2020 campaign.
    Sincerely,
    Jack

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  6. Tailored my opinion to the room. You were absolutely right confronting you principal. Tailoring sounds as if you have a good job and a family and have learned to shut up.

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  7. Jack, your argument is based on a mis-reading of the situation in 2016. For one, superdelegates played no part in the primary process. They might have voted en masse for Clinton at the Convention, but they didn’t need to, because Clinton had enough pledged delegates before the Convention to put her over the top. (It was in fact Sanders who engaged in a campaign to “flip” the superdelegates before the Convention.) As for Clinton having the support of the “elite media, ” may I remind you of the cable networks’ focus on an empty podium for 90 minutes while Clinton was giving a policy speech? And that the New York Times ran with more negative stories about Clinton than any other candidate? “Vetting Bernie” is trending in 2020 because the media failed to do it in 2016. You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I disagree with you with regard to the superdelegates in 2016. Clinton actually didn’t have enough votes to put her over the top without the superdelegates (she had 2,271 at the end of the primary season, but needed 2,382). Please remember that Sanders won 22 states (+ americans abroad) to Clinton’s 28 states (+ 6 territories: virgin islands, guam, puerto rico, american samoa, northern marianas, and the District of Columbia) and of Clinton’s 28 states there are 8 states (kentucky, connecticut, south dakota, new mexico, iowa, masachusetts, and missouri) where if you add the delegates then Clinton’s combined delegate count was only 10 higher than Sanders’ combined total… Kentucky’s 1 delegate difference came down to just under 2,000 votes and they both got an equal number of delegates in south dakota). Because it was such a close race Superdelegates absolutely played a grossly oversized role in the primary. Even though Sanders was keeping pace people everywhere were saying “Clinton’s got the superdelegates locked up so Sanders is mathematically incapable of winning the nomination” so folks stayed home and raged about the unfairness. And it *was* unfair because these superdelegates are, by definition, insiders who toe the official party line and Clinton was the poster child for “the democratic elite” that gifted them their superdelegacy. A big part of my fondness for Sanders is that he was the only one willing to take a stand against the DNC and their anointment of Hillary Clinton as the nominee (so did Martin O’Malley, but he didn’t last very long) in 2016. There was NO reason to not have a competitive primary in 2016 and yet the DNC went to great lengths to avoid having one. 17+ candidates is excessive as we’ve seen this cycle, but even 4 candidates running for the Democratic nomination in 2016 would have been infinitely better than what was being forced upon us (everybody I knew was hoping Warren would run in 2016). The changes made to the role of the superdelegates after the 2016 primary made it possible for the 2020 primary to have so many qualified candidates who all had (in theory) a fair shake at getting the nomination. In this cycle I’ve donated to Sanders, Warren, and Klobuchar and also to Amy McGrath (KY) in her campaign against Mitch McConnell and Jaime Harrison (SC) in his campaign against Lindsey Graham and am looking for other candidates to support in other races. I still like Bernie best though and think he’s the appropriate person to counter balance the far right shift that the republicans have made, but no matter who the democratic nominee is they’re getting my vote because literally anybody is better than what is currently debasing the office.

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    2. Superdelegates absolutely played a role in the 2016 primary and forming the public’s opinion of who was the ‘frontrunner’. This narrative was pushed early on before the delegates even voted by those media companies you claim are innocent. And it worked, lots of voters that were undecided adopted a mentality that voting for Sanders was a lost cause before the race even began.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Beth,
    Nice description of the offputting nature of the Sanders fandom.

    I’ve noticed people are overlooking or declining to mention how vulnerable Bernie is in November.

    Sanders is too dependent on undependable young voters and older voters are still wrongly scared of the word “socialism.” That makes a difference in a close race (swing states).

    This was written for the people who like Bernie, not his rabid stans, and are still undecided about making him their first or second choice. He has an electability problem:
    https://bit.ly/3aE6huX

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “I’ll go: Yes to decent, affordable health care for as many people as possible. Yes to living wage, affordable college for those who want it. Yes to reproductive freedom. Yes to sensible gun legislation. Yes to equal justice under the law.”

    This sounds like Pete Buttigieg’s platform. Have you considered him?

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    1. No, Buttigieg has alienated blacks
      by his treatment of black police officers in his city. Also he has taken money from PACS & wealthy donors
      in closed-door fund-raising, so he
      is indebted to these donors, & cannot address the wealth inequity
      or corruption in our current government. Also he has limited
      governing experience. I support
      Elizabeth Warren, who is competent
      & experienced in all of these areas.

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  10. I just read your Medium piece and couldn’t agree more. If Trump is good at anything, it’s branding and sloganeering. His crowd is salivating at the change to campaign against a candidate so easy to pin with the label, inaccurate though it may be.

    Another of my worries about him is how he would govern and what kind of cabinet he will assemble. Maybe “worry” is too strong… I’m just uncomfortable not having any clue what a Sanders Team would look like after five years of him being in the game. I have fewer doubts about his ability to maneuver the Senate. The guy is a shrewd politician, outsider status notwithstanding.

    It’s going to be a long primary!

    Thank you for your comment and your charts. I love charts.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Your essay is engaging, witty, and spot-on. Linking it as many places as I can. I especially appreciate the differentiation between Dems & GOP; it’s probably as different as it has been in years, but the Berners insist otherwise in the most tiresome manner. The US has been dragged to the Right, like you, I’ll be voting Blue, working for the Dem ticket, because when it comes to ideology vs. progress, it’s an easy choice. Keep writing.

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  12. “Nor has Sanders built a grassroots movement of any consequence, ”

    Factually incorrect. He has the strongest grass movement of any of the candidates. Also he’s also out-funding all of the democrats.

    Sure, I have zero problem with Elizabeth Warren being president. In fact, I’d love to see her unify with Bernie as her VP so he can cat wrangle the senate. But, one does get their point across better when one does stick to the facts.

    Bernie does not have an ‘elect-ability’ problem as so many keep wrongfully pointing out. People have a ‘not being able to see the reality’ problem. And it will cost the Democrats the election this time as it did last time if you discount the people who will vote for him.

    The real problem progressives have are progressives. You spend so much time trying to claw each other down, while the republicans unify, it pretty much hands the republican party victory every time. Personally, I have no stake in the US anymore. While I lived there once, and still vote to make a difference, it wouldn’t bother me to see the US sink into destruction. Certainly, progressives seem more interested in fighting each other over nitpicks than actually unifying for real change. And I certainly have no use for people who can’t keep their eye on the prize. Sort your country first, nitpick later. Far as I am concerned, the progressive movement, in the US, doesn’t deserve to win, it has no discipline, no proper fight in it, and certainly doesn’t seem to have what it takes to win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. BernieOrBust is a way of announcing to the world that you have no idea how government works, so your only plan is one specific candidate for one specific office. Another thing the writer was 100% correct about.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. “I want a president I can criticize without incurring the white hot wrath of the faithful telling me how wrong I am about Dear Leader.”

    Um, that sounds EXACTLY how people felt about HRC. And I’m not a “Bernie Bro.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We weren’t allowed to criticize Obama, either, even when he became the first president to give himself the right to kill American citizens without trial and allowed 80% of middle-class black wealth to be wiped out. I have to admit I was horrified at the prospect of eight more years of it with Hillary Clinton.

      Like

  14. Thanks! This article is brilliant! I’ve already decided I won’t vote for Bernie, even in the general. I was never more than lukewarm about him because of the exact issues you pointed out about him being stuck in the 70s. I had still been willing to vote for him as recently as last year, but the negativity and arrogance of his supporters slowly chipped away at any esteem I had for “the movement.”

    Of course, 9 months is a long time, but as of right now my intention is to vote for all the down-ballot Democrats and leave the POTUS section blank if Bernie is the nominee. I’ll vote for any blue except Bernie.

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  15. Great piece, Beth! As a moderate/liberal Republican newspaper columnist (and former elected official), I particularly appreciate your incisive analysis. At age 79, I believe that my fellow geezers should stop their delusional pursuit of the highest office in the lands, shut up, sit down and write unreadable memoirs.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I actually don’t understand this entire claim. Yes, some of Bernie’s Twitter fans are young and enthusiastic, and yes, some of them get angry and might use strong language when they see lies and smears about Sanders and his supporters propagating.

    Why shouldn’t they? For five years, they have been dealing with the paid troll army Clinton hired David block to run on social media and those people were vicious and haven’t stopped. Any news story about Sanders or tweet from his account generated long, nasty hate threads from Clinton supporters wishing Bernie would die, calling us all white men and racists, and making stuff up about Sanders and his supporters. The “BernieBro” story was shopped to reporters almost as soon as he threw his hat in the ring, just as it had been in 2007 with the “Obama Boys” title. Clinton unleashed a million dollar hate campaign of hate and lies against the Senator and his supporters and no one was supposed to respond? Do you have *any* idea of the names we’ve been called, the threats we’ve had thrown at us?

    Meanwhile, when we asked for evidence of these terrible Bernie supporters, we were given screenshots of tweets that were mostly from people who had Trump promotions in their profiles.

    So Hillary Clinton is on video saying Sanders isn’t liked by anyone in Congress and can’t work well with others.

    That’s rather an amazing untruth to tell about someone who was co-founder of the Progressive Caucus and served as its chair for its first (and best) eight years. Obviously, he can work with others. Moreover, Democratic and Republican members of Congress alike speak of him with respect and praise his hard work.

    Why shouldn’t people who know better try to correct the record? Why shouldn’t they be angry that Hillary Clinton popped up again to spread more lies about him?

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Beth – God bless. You have captured so well what I am experiencing, and what I feel. Having Bernie faithful rage and mansplain to me why their white patriarch is the best, and why I am wrong to (still) love Hillary. Tear Hillary down, and now Elizabeth Warren, with the sadly typical misogyny that’s endemic to Bernie supporters. Even here, in response to your own column, they are mansplaining your own work to you. When will it end!?

    Liked by 2 people

  18. A helpful enumeration of why Sanders isn’t the revolutionary that many of his supporters want him to be. (He DGAF about racism or sexism.)

    I do take issue with the adjective “adorable” being used to describe a female candidate. “Irritating like a golden retriever” gets the point across without using belittling and gendered language that unwittingly (?) supports the misogynistic status quo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting thing to say. Who, among all the candidates, do you imagine cares *more* about sexism and racism than Bernie Sanders? Who among them has fought harder to prevent the passage of legislation that will hurt women and minorities the most? Who among them has, like Bernie Sanders, used every legislative trick available to try to help, rather than harm, women and minorities?

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  19. Clintons policy goals were made quite clear in the reassuring speeches she gave to too big to fail institutions like Goldman Sachs. Its strange to me that you perceive Sanders’ policies as far fetched, but are willing to be reassured by duplicitous behaviour and pacifying promised that would have been promptly broken once she’d have been inaugurated. Speaking of far fetched, do you really find this Dynasty scenario, which W. Proved to be a disaster, and in which Chelsea eventually takes the helm, to be more realistic than a man who’s integrity is, in fact, one of if not the most consistent among his peers in public service? Who’s really investing in a fairy tale here? Because, Im pretty certain it aint Berners. BTW, your party just shredded their rule book so they could run a republican.

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    1. My party? If Bernie is this nominee, wouldn’t it also be his party? Oh wait…he’s just borrowing the infrastructure and the megaphone for the duration. But, ok, “integrity.” (BTW, Hillary isn’t running)

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      1. Oh, come on, Beth, he’s caucused with the Democrats for 30 years and votes with the Democrats more often than a good third of the Democratic delegation does. And since he’s running as a Democrat, he’s a Democrat. They’ve used him for his entire career and he’s a better part of the party than a whole lot of them. At least *he’s* not the one who spent the last 40 years attacking the Democratic Party’s crown jewels, the New Deal, Social Security, and Medicare.

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