I like Bernie Sanders. He's a good guy. I gave him positive coverage when he entered the race. I live with a Sanders supporter. You might even call me a Sanders contributor, since money from this blog's PayPal account somehow migrated into his treasure chest. (Apparently, an elf made that contribution -- an elf with access to that account. She is a very cute elf, and I cannot be angry with her.)
In many ways, Bernie Sanders represents my views better than Hillary Clinton does.
My beef is not with the candidate. But I have had it up to freakin' HERE with his asshole supporters, who have become every bit as obnoxious as the Trumpian hordes.
I know that a few smirkety-smirk Bernie-ites still read this blog. Let me ask you a question: Don't you have any notion of how self-defeating your behavior has become? Are you so filled with arrogance and smugness and self-righteousness that you cannot comprehend the horrible impression left by your asshole antics? Don't you realize that you are making a good man look bad?
I direct your attention to the hijacking of Elizabeth Warren's site, as discussed by Bill Maher above. Jesus Freakin' Kee-RIST!What an ASSHOLE thing to do.
Yesterday, thousands of Bernie Sanders’ supporters began sharing what appeared to be a straightforward New York Times article—which you can read here—about Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren’s decision to endorse Sanders for President of the United States. Attributed to Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, both of whom are real Times reporters, the piece was written in convincing Times-ese, down to the headline (“Warren Endorses Sanders, Breaking With Colleagues”), lead sentence (“In a potentially decisive turn...”), and perfunctory quotes from the Sanders campaign and several disappointed Clinton surrogates. There were two major problems with the article, though: It wasn’t a real Times report, and Warren has not in fact endorsed Sanders.
The end justifies the means -- if you've been granted the beatific vision.
Thomas Dimassimo, a Bernie cultist, attempted a violent attack on Donald Trump. Don't kid yourself: Dimassimo is not a one-off, not a quirk, not a freak. He is the inevitable product of a sick subculture.
Let's have no "false flag" talk. The assholier-than-thou attitude of Bernie's cult became notorious months ago, although I've refrained from mentioning it heretofore. Here's a perceptive comment from last July:
Sanders’ hardcore far left progressive base (known on this blog as PUBs, or the Progressive Unicorn Brigade) is made up of people who think that whatever or whoever they support is wonderful and perfect and will make the entire world a great big rainbow full of singing and peace and all that crap. And that’s okay; I have no problem with idealism. It’s a little sappy at times, but it’s harmless. What’s not harmless is that these followers have a tendency to belittle and smack down those who aren’t as enthusiastic as they are. They are preachy and whiny and they feel like the only way they can win is to tear down the other candidates running against them, which is the opposite of true.
It's also the opposite of the way Sanders himself does business.
I’m not #FeelingTheBern anymore. I’m on Bernie Sanders’ side policy-wise. I agree with many more of his positions than I do Hillary Clinton’s. I donated money to his campaign last year and I intend to vote for him in the Ohio primary in March. Still, the “Berniebro” phenomenon has left me feeling, well, Berned-out.
I am referring to a certain demographic of Sanders supporter – white and male – who accuses anyone who’s not #FeelingTheBern of being a member of the “Establishment.”
It’s gotten bad enough that Bernie Sanders’ campaign rapid response director had to speak up about it on Twitter. It’s gotten bad enough that, among my circle of friends (who are mostly millennials about evenly split between supporting Clinton and Sanders in the primary), the “Berniebro” phenomenon immediately comes up whenever the election comes up.
It’s not a new pattern. Remember the Obamatons back in 2008, who declared Hillary Clinton to be everything from a reincarnated Margaret Thatcher to Ronald Reagan in a pantsuit – despite the fact that Clinton had a near identical voting record to Obama’s and actually ran to his left on issues like healthcare.
The worst trait of fundamentalists is their insistence that anyone who’s not on board with their revolution is part of a coordinated conspiracy to silence and suppress that revolution. You can watch in real time as any progressive public figure who refuses to openly endorse Sanders – whether or not they also endorse Clinton – gets bombarded by wave after wave of accusations of being on the take.
You should check out that Twitter exchange: The rage-filled responses from the Berniebros are as disgusting as anything you'll hear from the Trump-thumpers.
The BernieBots are political cultists, similar to (and, by this point, as bad as) the Larouchies. From The Daily Dot, last August:
But as steadfast as Sanders and his supporters may be, their belligerence on questions about key social issues reveals a major danger in developing a cult-like following.
When Sanders’ following harangues black people on Twitter about their existential civil rights struggle and derails a conversation about gender bias, these actions and attitudes run contrary to the values they claim to champion. It’s a closed-off, rigid approach that mirrors much of what’s seen on the GOP debate stage, not one associated with a leading Democratic contender.
Bernie Sanders appears to be an exciting candidate for many, and understandably so. In some respects, he excites me too. But if you find yourself arguing with all the presumption and derisiveness of a bad-faith right-winger, all in the name of defending a far-left hero, some introspection might be in order.
If every criticism of Sanders, every action that his fans deem harmful, every question about his polices is met with an unthinking and reflexive attack, his campaign is in serious trouble. Maybe not now, but in the long term. No one wants to join a cult of personality. If we want the Sanders campaign to succeed it is time we stopped acting like one.
Actually, a lot of people do want to join a cult of personality. Following the leader is easier than forming one's own opinions based on daily research. A considered opinion requires rational analysis, the calm assessment of opposing viewpoints, and a healthy self-doubt. Who wants that? It's easier to let Bernie or The Donald do your thinking for you.
His most ardent enthusiasts are as cultish as Donald Trump’s. The founder of the left-wing Daily Kos blog was struck by their “irrational cherry-picking of news to convince themselves that victory is just around the corner.” If you don’t believe him, check out the comment threads on even respectful commentaries suggesting that maybe, just maybe, Sanders won’t win. His diehards demonize Clinton as a sellout and anyone who says a nice thing about her as a shill (an example of that in a moment). Sanders himself dissed Planned Parenthood, which endorsed Clinton, as “part of the establishment.”
...the most extreme denizens of Sanders Land are as unforgiving of apostasy as the Tea Party. Krugman, lamenting the reaction of some Sanderistas to his Bernie criticism, writes, “Right now I’m getting the kind of correspondence I usually get from Rush Limbaugh listeners, although this time it’s from the left—I’m a crook, I’m a Hillary crony, etc., etc.”
Krugman, who blogs at “The Conscience of A Liberal,” assures his progressive readers that “only some” Sanders supporters are this extreme. I too know reasoning ones; some are friends, and some contribute to comment threads, along with their crankier compatriots. It might be helpful for the former to have a grown-up chat with the latter, passing along the wisdom Krugman offers dyspeptic Sanderistas: “You might want to think hard about why you’re not just sure that you’re right, but sure that anyone who disagrees must be evil.”
I cannot stand the Bernie cultists. They, in my opinion, comprise a relatively low percentage of his overall backers. These cultists are an embarrassment to Bernie, to Democrats and to those who recognize the undeniable importance of preventing any Republican from occupying the White House. Bernie cultists are the ones who defend the indefensible, including a data security breach that just happened. Bernie cultists are the ones who adamantly insist they will never support Hillary if Bernie doesn't secure the nomination on the Democratic side. Bernie cultists would happily allow a Republican president to appoint up to 4 Supreme Court justices that will easily be locked in power for the next 30 years, leaving Republicans with a 7–2 advantage for decades. To them, this is preferable t allowing the "immoral, corporate owned, ethically challenged” (their words, not mine) Hillary to become President. Bernie cultists are purists and myopic. They even speak in cultlike language such as "Bernie is The One”, "Bernie is The Only One who can lead us” and " Bernie WILL save us”.
So to Bernie cultists I would say this:
Put down the Kool-Aid. Stop acting so goddamn self righteous. Think big picture. Think Nader 2000 and how well that turned out. And for fuck’s sake, stop acting like you're the victim in this whole thing. You're not. Imagine we’re in the general election and Donald Trump's campaign gained access to Bernie's voter data info. Imagine if Trump's campaign came out and initially said it was just an isolated low level operative who did it. Then imagine it turns out it was a national director of data and at least three others who were involved but only one was fired. Imagine 25 attempts were made to get to your data. Imagine you're initially told you that no data was saved only to find out later that it was saved and stored. You think you'd be acting the same way? Think you'd dismiss the Trump campaign’s actions? I didn't think so.
Even though Sanders (in February) belatedly distanced himself from the actions of his worst supporters, the Berniebros become more boorish, uncivilized and Trumpian with each passing day.
Appearing on the Sunday talk show circuit, Sanders distanced himself from their behavior and flatly stated “We don’t want that crap.”
Bernie Sanders slammed his own sexist supporters in particular, referring to their behavior as “disgusting.” Since the start of his campaign, the most overzealous Sanders supporters have been observed spreading coordinated lies about Hillary Clinton online, attacking her female supporters in vulgar ways, mass-voting in online polls to the point of comical results, and obsessively harassing any journalist or publication which mentions Sanders in a non-glowing manner. Now Sanders is finally trying to put a stop to their behavior.
“We don’t want them,” Sanders said on CNN of his supporters who have been acting inappropriately.
The Bernie campaign has actively tried to convince their supporters to clean up their act:
In fact, top Sanders campaign aides have quietly reached out to senior officials in the Clinton campaign and women like Walsh personally to apologize for Bro behavior. Online, aides are pushing their digital community to police itself and keep the Bros quiet. And some volunteer members of Sanders’s digital army are scrambling into action, reporting offenders and moderating bro-y posts.
Still, the Bros break through, and there’s real worry in corners of Sanders-world about it.
On Thursday, the BBC catalogued social media attacks on black pundits and women who opine on Bernie. Mashable posted a ton of screenshots of Bro attacks Friday morning.
“Their vaginas are making terrible choices!” wrote a Sanders supporter in the comments under a photo of New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Clinton. The New Yorker’s Emily Nussbaum recently complained of being called a “psycho” and a “bitch” on Twitter after saying something positive about Clinton.
A historical parallel. Many people have compared the Trump movement to the Nazi brownshirts and other right-wing bullyboys who became a force in Germany in the 1920s. The comparison is, in my view, quite justified. That said, using the N-word is a bit misleading: Roehm's stormtroopers grew out of a larger paramilitary movement known as the Freikorps.
In the early 20th century, Freikorps were raised to fight against the newly formed Weimar Republic, as well as their left-wing counterparts, through the early 1920s. These paramilitary organizations "roamed the countryside, killing with impunity." "They engaged in bloody confrontations with republican loyalists and engineered some of the more notorious assassinations" of the Weimar period, and are widely seen as a "precursor to Nazism".
Many of you already know about the hundreds of assassinations which went officially unsolved. You know about the bloody fights with left-wingers on the streets of Munich.
But one part of the story receives insufficient attention: A fight requires two combatants. Or, in this case, two "armies."
Look again at the passage quoted above: I bet your eyes glazed right past the words "their left-wing counterparts." Let me repeat that. Yes, the Feikorps (and the fledgling Nazis) were violent and hideous -- but they had left-wing counterparts.
I'm not saying that those left-wing counterparts were as bad as the paramilitary right. They weren't. But they did exist, and they did nothing but damage to the cause of social progress.
Revolution is a young man's game, and young men are reckless, arrogant fools. It does not matter if those young men are on the left, on the right, black, white, brown, Asian, Jewish, or gentile. In every culture, in every nation, in every cranny of history, young men are -- have been, always will be -- ASSHOLES.
In 1921, Ben Hecht wrote a novel about post-WWI Germany. Erik Dorn (which I discovered in a marvelous old used book store in the Valley) dramatizes an important part of German history which the world forgot after Hitler rose to prominence: This part of history. The Nazis never would have gained any traction if the German socialist revolutionaries of 1919 had not behaved like bloody fools.
When lefties act obnoxiously, they make right-wing thuggery seem acceptable, even necessary. Politics differs from physics: In politics, for every foolish action, there is an opposite but not equal reaction. The return blow will always be far worse than the initial punch.
(Hecht didn't understand this principle. His book predicted that Germany would go the way of the USSR. Had he written five years later, he would have produced a very different novel.)
Ghastly behavior from the revolutionary left creates monsters on the revolutionary right. The Berniebots will never comprehend this truism: Fanatics are ineducable.
Hello Joseph. This is not related to post. Please check your email, maybe spam filter blocked a message. I thought i sent something useful, but haven't heard from you. Have a look and let me know, regards, p.
posted by Arbusto205 : 7:57 AM
If you have the time, Joseph, I wish you'd catalog some of the hateful comments, the way you did for the Obamabots in 2008. And then I'd like to see a link to that post and the anti-Hillary ones on your home page.
I see absolutely no difference between the Bushbots of 2000 and these guys.
You made me think of the early years of the Raygun Administration and how we kept hearing we gotta support Tip O'Neil in letting Raygun rampage through the Fairness Doctrine and PATCO 'cause old Tip was just playing eleventy dimension chess and giving Raygun just enough rope to hang himself. We are living proof of how well that worked out.
Ghastly behavior from the revolutionary left creates monsters on the revolutionary right. Sometimes, yes. But supporters of Bernie you describe here are a lunatic fringe of his supporters. This oughtn't be a reason to not support Bernie Sanders if his politics and aims match one's own.
When the election season ends and we find ourselves stuck with the same old establishment crap, won't some of us wish we'd ignored that lunatic fringe and helped Bernie more? Maybe not - if a Clinton presidency is the covert aim of all this hand-wringing.
At best Hillary is a placeholder for Biden or whatever less self-serving alternative the Democrats can recruit as compromise. Why not admit that's the role Clinton serves, because her train isn't leaving the station. Too many people have been too fucked over for too long and they want the hope of real change.
posted by Anonymous : 11:37 AM
Anyone who has been online confronting some of these Bernista's knows that they're fanatics at the core. In the same way the Trumpsters are fanatics. The St Bernard Brigade has no problem exhibiting raw sexism with "Bern the Witch" & F**k Her" hashtags and campaign buttons. You call them on the outrageous language and/or a particular Hillary slander and you're guaranteed to get more of the same.
The Trump followers have demonstrated their willingness to be as hateful and racially bigoted as their leader, the Hair that Ate New York. The St Bernard Brigade? They're trying their best to match odiousness with odiousness, all the while claiming sainthood.
It's a cage match, a national exhibition of angry white men fighting.
Shame on them all. And may they both lose, gloriously.
posted by Anonymous : 1:22 PM
Regarding the Freikorps, their "counterparts'" failings were simple: they were too good. If you're attacked by a rabid dog you can't cuddle your way to victory. Lightly or un-armed, peaceable and with their leadership infiltrated by Freikorp spies, which is how Hitler got into the NSDAP, they were slaughtered like lambs.
To me the lesson isn't that they were like their Freikorp counterparts, it's that you have to fight fire with Napalm. Victory before virtue.
I don't care for identity politics and have no interest in anything from the Daily Kos, but I don't truckle with the murderers of the Spartacists.
"In the early 20th century, Freikorps were raised to fight against the newly formed Weimar Republic, as well as their left-wing counterparts, through the early 1920s."
Am I the only one that thinks this sentence links the "left-wing counterparts" to the Weimar Republic? Cause that's how it reads to me, but maybe my grammar has suffered from years on the internet.
As to the rest of the post, I have yet to meet an actual Bernie supporter that behaves like this. Which isn't to say they don't exist because they obviously do, but I wonder how many of them are just sock puppets working for some other organization to either make Bernie look bad, or to ensure they don't have to face Clinton in the general.
More and more I've come around to your view Joseph (and the view of many) that Bernie can't really win the general election. Though I have to wonder how Trump is going to handle it when his corruption, mob ties, etc. are laid out for all to see? I get the feeling most of his supporters won't care at all, but some will, since his "anti-establishment" cred is sure to get hammered on by the establishment that he has been an integral part of for so long (bloviating narcissism notwithstanding).
I STILL feel like Bernie is the only candidate I can vote for in good conscience (and yet, I know he is not perfect and there are votes of his that concern me as well as his general status quo foreign policy stances). However, if Hillary gets the nomination, she can count on my vote (because more of the same is preferable to the disaster that Trump, or even Rubio or Cruz, would certainly bring about in this country).
posted by Gus : 4:09 PM
There is the matter of effective tactics and there is the matter of doing ones best to keep people corralled into the Elite bipartisan corrupt system at crunch time. Anyone who reads the entirety of your posts on Sanders realizes what your chief concern is, apart from Sanders supporters' gambits, good bad or indifferent. I'm sure the DNC shares it.
posted by Ken Hoop : 5:56 PM
You obviously have not seen the utter hatred I have had thrown at me -or you refuse to see it. I have read some of the ugliest gifs I have ever read from Hillary supporters. You are conveniently ignoring that....here are some that will make you smile- and sadly -they aren't even nearly as awful as the ones I have had thrown at me. http://berniebrowho.tumblr.com/
There are actually Bernie supporters who police this campaign on social media asking people to be polite, as have I. Some of the people online are not very likely even supporters, just searching for some attention-or similarly creating conflict as they had with Obama campaign and his Muslim garb photos etc. BTW- it was a former digital media strategist for Hillary's 2008 campaign, who created HillaryMen.org -- then invented BernieBros. He worked on Kerry's campaign, then worked on Hillary's -and after that worked on Clinton Foundation. He has created a pseudo news site with a buy out of an old site. He is claiming to be completely independent of the campaign, but that's all rather farcical.