(I've somewhat abbreviated this post since its original publication. Spread this throughout Bernieland. You too can be accused of being a paid Hillary shill! Feel the hate!)
Progressives are turning against Bernie Sanders
"The problem isn't Bernie Sanders' supporters,” Moulitsas wrote. “It's Bernie Sanders himself … [He] refuses to forcefully and unambiguously reject that violence, instead rationalizing and explaining it away with a mix of grievances and outright conspiracy theory.”
Although the Bernie thugs can't bring themselves to admit it, their Dear Leader is the primary reason why Trump is now running ahead of Clinton in the polls. Their vile, incessant and utterly deceptive anti-Clinton propaganda campaign was designed to transform the most admired woman in America into a pariah.
do better against Trump? His cultists say so, but the idea is laughable. Polls are kind to him now only because the media -- mainstream, rightstream and leftstream -- has, until very recently, declared him beyond criticism.
In this essay, I will prove that the media has always favored Bernie. It's a dog-that-didn't-bark
kind of proof: The media's bias is proven by their refusal to discuss these 50 truths about Sanders.
Only on a small-but-fearless blog like this one may we list the 50 reasons why candidate Bernie would suffer a 50-state loss. At the risk of being labeled a paid shill for Hillary (even though I can't even afford to buy my dog's insulin), I shall reveal the sins that make Dear Leader unelectable.
1. Big government.
According to consistent Gallup polls, some 69 percent of the country thinks that Big Government is America's top problem, while 25 percent sees Big Business as the biggest problem. The entire Sanders campaign consists of assaults on big business -- and no-one can call him a proponent of small government. Such a candidate cannot win.
The word "socialist" is an insurmountable general-election turnoff. It doesn't matter how you
view the word or how I
view the word; in an election, the only thing that matters is how the general public feels. Pew
tells us that 59% of the public views "socialism" negatively, while just 29% views the word positively. Gallup
reveals that Americans are much more disposed to elect a gay, Muslim or atheist candidate, as opposed to a socialist. That one word destroys
Sanders belongs to the Democratic Socialists of America
, which advocates taking down the capitalist system.
That association won't sit well, once the majority of America gets the news.
Republican strategist Ryan Williams has said: “Republicans are being nice to Bernie Sanders because we like the thought of running against a socialist.” Sanders would not only lose, he would force all
Democrats to live with the "socialist" stigma -- forever. The party would lose many seats in Congress.
3. Tax rates.
With few exceptions, the media has refused to discuss the fact that Bernie Sanders intends to raise taxes sky-high on working people. A worker earning $20K a year will be taxed at a rate higher than the one now imposed on Bill Gates. Sanders supporters can make highly technical arguments as they try to explain that taxes won't really
be so onerous. Bernie will sound like Porky Pig as he tries to explain the intricacies of his math -- meanwhile, Republican ads will slaughter
him. (Similar ads slaughtered George McGovern, who ran during a much more liberal era.)
All of Bernie's promises are predicated on a political revolution that simply will not occur: If Bernie were to win in 2016, does anyone truly believe that red states and purple states would respond by sending a horde of Emma Goldman clones to Capitol Hill? It's not bloody likely -- not in a country where only 24% of the electorate identifies as liberal. Worse, Sanders refuses to support downticket Democrats -- in fact, his supporters have deliberately impeded
their fundraising efforts!
Bernie views an inability to compromise as a badge of honor. Polls indicate that the public is weary of gridlock.
Bernie has claimed repeatedly that he does not accept PAC money. In fact, he has -- in the past. He even accepted money from HillaryPAC in 2006! One can easily visualize a Republican attack ad which uses this history to paint him as a double-talker.
In fact, Bernie has benefited from millions of dollars spent by conservative PACS
7. Lack of accomplishment.
In all his years on the Hill, Bernie Sanders co-sponsored only three successful bills; two of them bestowed names on post offices. (Bizarrely, he wanted one of those post offices to be named after a member of the anti-Catholic Know-Nothings.) Hilariously, Alternet bestowed this headline on a Bernie puff piece: "Bernie Gets It Done: Sanders' Record of Pushing Through Major Reforms Will Surprise You." Who painted this political landscape -- Dali? Ernst?
8. Hypocrisy on the Crime Bill.
The man has given us too many examples of hypocrisy to list here, but the crime bill may be the most egregious. Bernie Sanders voted for it -- as did the Congressional Black Caucus -- yet he tried to use this issue against Hillary Clinton. He eventually claimed that he supported the bill only because it contained an assault weapons ban. The truth: He actually voted for an earlier version which did not include that ban
. One can easily see how his self-serving deceptions can be used against him in an effective series of television ads.
9. The NRA.
The NRA's funding of Sanders, and his subsequent pro-gun voting record, gives the lie to his claim that he does not do the bidding of well-heeled backers. At the moment, most Democrats do not know this history -- but in a general election, his hypocrisy will be placed under the magnifying glass.
During the middle of the Iranian hostage crisis -- still a sore memory for many Americans -- Bernie publicly proclaimed his solidarity with "revolutionary Iran." The Ayatollah Khomeini is still a despised figure throughout much of the nation. Can you imagine
the effectiveness of an ad featuring one of the hostages?
Many older Americans recall how they shook with rage throughout the hostage crisis; they recall the brisk trade in "Ayatollah = Assahola" t-shirts. If there is video of Bernie Sanders making that proclamation, his approval ratings will plunge into the single digits.
Although I marched in pro-Sandinista, pro-FMLN rallies back in the day, I'm also realistic enough to understand that my views were not, and are not, shared by the majority of my fellow citizens. Thanks to the efforts of we who marched (not to mention the lingering stench of Vietnam), Reagan did not send troops to Central America, though he clearly yearned to do so. Nevertheless, most Americans still believe -- wrongly -- that the Sandinistas were communists.
Bernie Sanders not only supported the Sandinistas, he visited Nicaragua and joined a crowd chanting "The Yankee will die."
If there is footage of Bernie in that crowd -- and there probably is -- he will not only lose the election, he'll be spat upon.
Sanders' greatest strength is with the millennials, who seem to operate under the delusion that they are the only ones who will show up on election day. Yet even the millennials give him a 55% approval rating -- not exactly stratospheric. I predict that this number will plummet. Why? Because millennials lack experience and education; they are easily gulled by peer pressure and intellectual fads. Republican operatives know how to work the social networking sites, and they know how to turn the current pro-Sanders mania into anti-Sanders revulsion.
13. Child porn.
Sanders was against an amendment criminalizing Photoshopped child porn -- that is, porn which depicts only simulated
child rape. There is, I suppose, a viable First Amendment defense for this vote, but that defense will seem like casuistry to many of my fellow citizens. Nothing will stop the Republicans from painting Sanders as a sick old man who coddles the worst perverts on earth.
In the 1970s, Sanders advocated the nationalization of the oil industry. To be honest, a part of me sympathizes with that stance. The public will not. (That's one reason why I knew better than to run for office.)
Sanders advocated the government seizure of the assets of the Rockefeller family -- and by extension, the fortunes of similar families -- in order to spend the money on social welfare programs. He was not talking about taxes; he advocated outright seizure of the entire fortune. Such a course of action would, of course, be wildly unconstitutional. Even if he disavows what he said then (which he probably won't), I don't think that the extreme statements he made in the past will go over well in the purple states.
At great length, and in no uncertain terms, Sanders advocated the government takeover of the television industry. Although he used the term "democratic control" to describe this seizure, most Americans despise the thought of the government controlling both news and entertainment programming. Trump will compare Sanders to Stalin -- justifiably
Sanders may (or may not) disavow now the ideas he advocated in the 1970s. The question is: How many such disavowals will the public accept? Perhaps his earlier self was his truest self.
17. The Jane Factor.
Jane Sanders ran a college -- into ruins. Then she escaped with a golden parachute. This history has been, and will be, used to make the case that socialists cannot handle money.
18. Funny Money.
The under-funded FEC keeps asking questions about Sanders' campaign finances, and they never receive any reasonable answers. Sanders has never explained the $23 million in completely unsourced
funding that aroused the curiosity of the Commission. The money just appeared
, like Athena from the forehead of Zeus.
We've not heard any official explanation for the $10.5 million he received from the DC area all on one day -- in individual donations of $35 apiece. Defenders have suggested that this money came from MoveOn -- but where is the proof? As I've noted before: Campaigns are entirely self-policing, and donations under $50 are completely anonymous. Counter-intuitive as it may seem, a "small donations" campaign is actually more
likely to be corrupt -- at least under current rules.
19. Lying about "those speeches."
Sanders has repeatedly accused Hillary Clinton of profiting from speeches given to large banking concerns. He doesn't tell his audiences that she donated most of the money to charity
. That's the part Sanders always leaves out. (For charity, I will happily spend the day telling the folks who run Goldman Sachs anything they wish to hear: "And Lloyd, I'm particularly envious of your twelve-inch penis!"
Sanders' record of deception, if properly publicized, would infuriate the public.
20. Going negative.
Sanders began by saying that he would not engage in character attacks or negative advertising. Everyone now admits that he broke that promise. That broken promise could be used against him in the general.
Having smeared not only Clinton (one of the most liberal members of Congress) as a corporate shill, Sanders has also demeaned all other Democratic politicians who do not measure up to his standard of purity. The man is not liked by his colleagues. By erecting a cult of personality around himself, he has shown his true character. The idea that anyone can win the presidency without the party is a ludicrous fantasy that only the most deluded BernieBro could believe.
22. How will he fund a general election campaign?
Having scoffed at PACs and large donors, Sanders would face a stark choice: 1. He could declare himself a hypocrite and take PAC money, or 2. He could try to win a campaign in which he is outspent many times over. If he chooses the latter course, then every attack ad -- whether based on truth or fabrication -- will go unanswered.
23. Bernie's taxes.
Bernie has flat-out lied about his tax returns. He claimed that he could not provide his returns for prior years because his wife does them. That answer doesn't make any sense -- unless he is claiming that Jane misplaced
the documentation. Jane said that the earlier returns were unavailable because Bernie was not running for public office in preceding years. That's another non-sequitur: Bernie Sanders was an office-holder -- and even if he weren't, he would still be expected to cough up the returns.
The pattern of lying indicates that he's hiding something major. It may be difficult for Trump to score him on this point, given The Donald's own refusal to divulge his taxes. But Bernie obviously has a big secret -- a secret which may slip out by some other
route, even if those IRS forms remain locked in a drawer.
24. Health coverage.
Bernie, if elected, could succeed in eradicating Obamacare. He cannot succeed in enacting a British-style system. Not with this Congress, not with this public. The public's attitude toward socialized medicine fluctuates -- but the idea always becomes less popular when the talk turns to the costs. Hell, even I
don't like Sander's idea of eliminating deductibles and co-payments entirely. (Co-payments, even small ones, help to keep down waste and fraud.)
25. Opposition to the auto bailout.
Trump has positioned himself as the proponent of American industry. On this score, he will slaughter
Sanders, who favored allowing the American automobile industry to die. (As we've all seen, Libertarian Trump gives way to Hypernationalist Trump, depending on the situation.)
To most Americans, deficits do
matter -- a lot. Whereas Hillary can point to her husband's record (Bill Clinton was the first president in ages to get America out of the red, and had us positioned to pay back the entire debt by 2006), Sanders has made proposals which will add trillions to the national debt, as even liberal economists agree
By the reckoning of the left-of-center economists, none of whom are working for Mrs. Clinton, the proposals would add $2 trillion to $3 trillion a year on average to federal spending; by comparison, total federal spending is projected to be above $4 trillion in the next president’s first year. “The numbers don’t remotely add up,” said Austan Goolsbee, formerly chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, now at the University of Chicago.
Alluding to one progressive analyst’s criticism of the Sanders agenda as “puppies and rainbows,” Mr. Goolsbee said that after his and others’ further study, “they’ve evolved into magic flying puppies with winning Lotto tickets tied to their collars.”
I don't care for Goolsbee -- but so what? This post is not about him. This post is about electability in November. If Trump places that quotation in an ad seen repeatedly by the entire country, Sanders is done
Absurdly, Sanders favored the separatist party of Quebec and even attended one of their conventions. This association will damage relations with our closest partner.
28. Nationalization of industry.
Sanders has claimed that he does not favor the government takeover of the means of production. Fair enough. I do
understand that there are many forms of socialism -- in fact, I have understood that point since grade school, before most BernieBros were born. Nevertheless, Sanders has
advocated nationalization of various industries in the past -- we've already mentioned television and oil.
In a general election, he will be forced to say: "I used to advocate government takeover of business, but my views have evolved." How do you think that
29. Details, and the lack thereof.
None of Bernie's pie-in-the-sky ideas comes backed by anything so gauche as specifics. The mainstream media soft-pedals this fact now, but they will stop doing so if he wins the nomination. His instantly-infamous Daily News interview
displayed his Palin-esque vacuousness.
30. Five percent growth.
Bernie's entire program is predicated on the notion that he can deliver 5% economic growth for four straight years. This is insane. 1984 was the last year we had that kind of growth, and it was achieved only through Reagan's massive military build-up, funded by deficits. (As Lloyd Bentsen said at the time, Reagan's prosperity was paid for with hot checks.) The people won't stand for that kind of thing now; they stood for it then
only because the Republicans had spent a decade lying about Soviet military capabilities.
No economist takes the five percent figure seriously. Sanders is flat-out lying -- and Trump will be able to prove that he is lying by citing liberal
31. More lies about Hillary.
Sanders claimed that Hillary was funded by the oil industry -- and then proved the point by noting contributions from individuals (not corporations) who happen to work for that industry, even in the lowliest capacity. By the same logic, one could say that Bernie is funded by the Department of Defense. Right now, the mainstream media has soft-pedaled Sanders' deceptions. They will stop doing so the moment he wins the nomination.
32. Black people.
If Sanders were to win the nomination, he will do so over the objections of black people, who clearly preferred someone else. I don't see why African Americans would feel particularly motivated to go to the polls, especially in light of the insulting things that Team Sanders said about black voters in the south. (I'm sure that Team Trump will be happy to offer reminders.) The BernieBros made many racist statements -- on Reddit and elsewhere -- after the Black Lives Matter incident. No Democrat can win if the African American vote is depressed.
33. The BernieBullies.
They are already widely hated among Democrats, and that hatred will only grow. Their obnoxious behavior will suppress turnout by traditional Dems, who won't want to see Bernie's online cult become even more monstrous and arrogant. And no-one in his or her right mind can argue that the obnoxious tactics of the BernieBullies will appeal to middle-of-the-roaders and to the many Republicans who consider Trump boorish. Sanders has demonstrated an unwillingness to keep his thugs in line.
34. Lack of Patriotism.
Bernie Sanders won't wear the flag pin. A symbolic point, but symbolism matters in a presidential race. Things have not changed that
much since 1988, when Poppy Bush won, in large part, due to a ginned up controversy involving the Pledge of Allegiance. Around the world (not just in this country) working-class people truly care
about the totems of nationalism. Perhaps they ought not, but they do. Sanders is contemptuous of the need to compromise on even the most trivial matters; if ever he tried to say the pledge, the words would probably stick in his throat.
35. I call Debs.
Sanders is a lifelong admirer of Eugene Debs, whose portrait hangs in his office. Bernie even made a Debs documentary. Personally, I don't have any problem with this. But it is a fact that Lenin praised Debs, and that Debs supported the 1917 revolution in Russia. Moreover, Sanders' documentary applauds
this expression of support for Lenin.
If you now want to get into an argument about Eugene Debs, you are missing the point: I'm not writing about history. I'm writing about the electability of Bernie Sanders. In an election year, perceptions count. The Debs/Lenin/Sanders linkage can be spun -- fairly or otherwise -- into the perception that Bernie Sanders is a communist.
A Sanders quote: "You don’t necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country." On one level, this is true -- we don't need
such things. But the abundance of goods indicates prosperity, and competition is the only thing that keeps prices down. Insulting the very concept of competition is not going to play well with most people.
Bernie claims to admire Scandinavia, as do I. I don't know how many brands of deodorant are available in Swedish stores, but I imagine that the range is comparable to our own.
My point is this: This quote indicates that Sanders favors a centralized governmental control of enterprise. I don't think that this stance will be popular in November. How many Americans want the government to decide on the number of consumer products? Most believe that the market should make such decisions.
37. Demonstrably empty promises.
Bernie's ideas sound practical only to fools who think that the American president is a kind of king. Many naive Bernie supporters (like many naive Trump supporters) do not understand that Congress
Example: Bernie has promised free college tuition paid for by a tax on Wall Street transactions. Even if the numbers added up, how will he make that happen?
Congress will remain in Republican hands, and the Republican majority would only grow if he became president. His supporters have actively harassed fundraisers for congressional Democrats.
Sanders's "free college" pledge is as inane as Trump's claim that he can make Mexico pay for a wall. Even if you think it's a good idea, so what? From the mouse's point of view, belling the cat is a good idea. How can the mice make such a thing happen?
38. Will the military tolerate a President Sanders?
FDR was not a socialist, yet his New Deal policies led to two serious attempted military coups. (Read Jules Archer's The Plot to Seize the White House
.) If Sanders wins the nomination, many within the military -- from rank-and-file soldiers to Generals -- will voice their extreme displeasure. They will sound very ominous and very threatening. Voters will get the message.
39. Sanders has no appeal to Hillary supporters or traditional Democrats.
After his disastrous encouragement of thuggery in Las Vegas, an increasing number of non-BernieBros view Sanders with utter revulsion. We all understand that the bullying comes from the top down, and that Sanders himself is the real reason why his BernieBullies are psychologically incapable of apologizing. Sanders cannot unite the party. He cannot mobilize the base. He cannot win over undecideds. Even if he were handed the nomination tomorrow, he has already
lost the November election.
40. The intelligence community will not tolerate a socialist of any stripe.
God only knows what they will do to prevent his becoming president. Anyone who discounts the effectiveness of their tactics or their willingness to play dirty hasn't read the same books I have read.
As Charlton Heston says in The Four Musketeers
: "One must be careful about what one writes." According to the NYT: "...he [Sanders]
wrote some articles about health, including one in which he cited studies claiming that cancer could be caused by psychological factors such as unresolved hostility toward one’s mother, a tendency to bury aggression beneath a “facade of pleasantness” and having too few orgasms."
42. Bernie's past, Trump's past.
If Bernie Sanders is forced to renounce the extreme things he has said in his past, then he will not be able to criticize Trump concerning the extreme things that he
has said in his
past. Having changed his position on so fundamental an issue as the nationalization of industry, Sanders cannot criticize Trump for the many (many) times he
has shifted his
positions. The most effective ways to attack Donald Trump will be off-limits to Bernie Sanders.
Bernie wants to spend $1 trillion on infrastructure. Personally, I like the idea. I would also like to lose 30 pounds in one week simply by laying on the sofa while watching old Star Trek
reruns and eating ice cream. But I'm realistic enough to know that 30 pounds does not come off so easily. I also know that Congress will laugh at Bernie's big idea.
More than that: Not many years ago, the public reacted with outrage to Obama's stimulus package, which spent a mere $191 billion on jobs -- and only a small portion of that
went to infrastructure. (Most of it went to the state governments.) The stim package was hated
. The stim package was a key factor in creating the Tea Party rebellion. Do you really think that voters in November will react kindly to a proposal that is at least five times larger
Bernie Sanders has said that he wants Obama to withdraw Merrick Garland in order to allow Sanders to nominate a justice based on one principle: "No nominee of mine to the United States Supreme Court will get that job unless he or she is loud and clear that one of their first orders of business will be to overturn Citizens United." Does Sanders even understand how the Court works? No-one can have any idea when or if such a case will next appear before the Supremes.
45. Guilt by association.
The Republicans gained enormously from creating a paper monster out of Saul Alinski. What will they do with Bernie's history with the Young People’s Socialist League? It should be fairly easy to find someone who belonged to that organization -- or to the Socialist Workers’ Party, or to the Liberty Union, or to the Democratic Socialists of America -- who has said something strikingly anti-American. Bernie will be damned by association.
46. Sanders' very own Watergate.
Sanders' team stole confidential voter data from the Hillary campaign. When the theft was discovered, he refused to discipline or criticize his people. When the DNC offered a mild punishment, Sanders -- in what we now know to be a characteristic move -- went into high dudgeon, claiming that the DNC was trying to censor and suppress him. In other words, he resorted to his usual intimidation tactics.
All of this can be used against him in November. Hillary voters will remember. They may just stay home on election day.
47. Free college.
Even for the rich?
48. A terror attack on America or its interests.
What if such an attack occurs during the election? It's not unlikely. Will Bernie say the patriotic, inspiring things that Americans will want to hear? It's not likely.
49. Intellectual laziness.
We need a smart candidate who will stand in sharp contrast to Trump's foolishness. But Sanders isn't a reading
man. From the New Yorker
"Sanders does not seem to have immersed himself that deeply in the extensive literature on inequality. When I spoke with him in his Senate office, I asked him how his ideas on economic fairness were formed. “No one can answer that,” he replied. “How were your ideas formed?” He did not particularly warm to discussing the theories of such economists as Joseph Stiglitz and Thomas Piketty. (Gutman told me, “I read a third of Piketty’s book. I don’t think Bernie would read a page of it.”
Sanders hopes to ease income inequality but he won't read Stiglitz or Piketty?
Good lord. He resembles a Christian who is too lazy to read the New Testament, or a psychiatrist who won't read Freud, or an art historian who won't read Vasari. What does
Bernie read? Anything?
One could list 50 reasons why many women mistrust Sanders; in my view, such a list should be written by a woman. The hateful things that the BernieBros have said about Hillary have certainly carried more than a whiff of sexism.
But for me, one item stands out. In a moment of high paranoia, Bernie Sanders labeled Planned Parenthood part of his hated "Establishment."
Those fine people take a risk every time they come to work. Words cannot express how much I admire and respect what they do. If that's
the Establishment, then let's have more Establishment.
Sanders' remark was inexcusable. If he were the nominee, any woman who has ever relied upon the aid of Planned Parenthood would not feel terribly motivated to visit the polls in November.