The problem with Sanders supporters is exemplified by this article
, in which a Bernie-ite confronts a pro-Hillary superdelegate. The Sanders supporter obviously feels that the superdelegate system is unfair. A defensible position, that -- although we should note a certain hypocrisy, since Sanders' own strategy depends on the superdelegates. But Bernie-ites venture into the realms of High Paranoia whenever they imply that anyone who does not favor the Socialist Messiah must be in the pay of the Evil Clinton Conspiracy.
Here's the telling part: We learn, in the course of the above-linked article, that the superdelegate has become so entrenched in her position precisely because Sanders supporters keep acting like obsessive, paranoid, Trumpian loons. Their behavior hurts their cause. But instead of allowing themselves the luxury of reflection -- instead of asking themselves "How can I change my behavior in order to create a better outcome?" -- Berniebros will always double down on obnoxiousness.
The Trumpian hordes can say to the Berniebots: "We're not so different, you and I." They both favor the politics of rage and resentment. They both automatically presume corruption on the part of all who disagree. And they both never apologize
The Berniebot is a different kind of lefty. In previous times, American leftists constantly
questioned themselves; this characteristic was both their weakness and their strength. But the new left is like unto the old right: They never apologize, never retreat, never tolerate criticism, never allow self
-criticism, never waver in their conviction that they and only they have been granted the beatific vision. Having climbed atop their high horse, they cannot dismount -- not even when doing so would help them go where they want to go.
That obdurate psychopathology is what one should expect from a group of people who have blinded themselves to all political reality. We're talking about people who have seriously claimed that electing Sanders will result in a wave of progressives overwhelming Congress, thereby ushering us all into Socialist Paradise. What nonsense. If Sanders became president, a right-wing backlash would become
inevitable -- and the backlash would probably take this shape
None of these realistic concerns matter to the Berniebots, who automatically presume bad faith on the part of anyone who won't share their hallucinations.
The greatest of these hallucinations is that Bernie is electable. He isn't. Sorry, but he just isn't
Sanders’ self-identification as a “socialist” is all that many voters would need to know to reject him. A recent Pew poll found negative reactions to the word “socialist” outpacing positive reactions by two to one—59 percent to 29 percent.
In June 2015, Gallup asked people whether they would vote for a “well-qualified person for president” who had various possible characteristics, and “socialist” was a deal-breaker for more Americans than any other attribute, including gay, Muslim or atheist.
“Socialism” is the label Republicans have been trying to pin on Democrats; it is not the flag Democrats want to be waving. Not only would Sanders find it difficult to get elected, Democratic candidates up and down the ticket would disassociate themselves from him.
Numbers are numbers, folks.
Even if you try to educate the public about the various types of socialism, even if you are always careful to precede the S-word with the D-word, even if you tell the world a million times that Einstein and Helen Keller were socialists, the one inescapable fact of our political life is that most Americans associate "socialism" with Stalin and Mao.
When confronted with these numbers, Berniebots counter that -- according to recent polls -- young people are less sour than their elders are when it comes to the term "socialist." The bots seem be under the impression that only young people will vote in 2016. But the election won't take place in the far future; it's happening this year
(I think that youngsters have warmed to the S-word because the Fox Newsers have redefined that term as part of their effort to smear the current president. Ill-educated young idiots believe that Barack Obama
is a socialist, which is like mistaking ketchup for tequila. The RNC's propaganda campaign had an unintended consequence.)
Facts are facts: You will not have -- should
not have -- a socialist president without first building a socialist movement
. And that, my friends, is the work of decades. There's no such thing as a one-move checkmate.
The automatic presumption of bad faith. I
have been accused of taking a Clinton pay-off, even though no sensible political campaign would ever want anything to do with so weird a blogger. Truth is, I can't even afford to take my dog George to the vet. If I told the Berniebots what they want to hear, I could have a successful fundraiser; as things stand, I would not dare try. Not to worry: an extra gig came my way, so the doggie doctor should soon receive a visit.
What irks me is the paranoid presumption that opposing Sanders is somehow in my personal financial interest, even though the opposite is true. The same thing happened in 2008: At least one progressive blogger was privately appalled at the treatment of Hillary, but refused to speak up in public, for fear of injuring the flow of contributions.
At what point does a movement
become a mob?