Liberals who refuse to feel the Bern, should at least refrain from insulting him
I am at a loss for why so many liberals are skeptical of Bernie Sanders. It’s obvious why right-wingers and corporatists don’t like Bernie, but why does the liberal base in the US divided on his candidacy? If there’s any candidate that a liberal should rally around, it’s Sanders.
Bernie surely has foes in the Democratic Party establishment. To be clear, Sanders is serving as an Independent in the Senate, though he caucuses with the Democrats. He has been without a doubt the most progressive member of the Senate, if not Congress as a whole. One of the main reasons why Sanders became an Independent in the Senate was the fact that he opposed the Democratic establishment in their selling out to Wall Street and the robber-barons.
Bernie’s main contention with the establishment of the Democratic Party is that it placates the Republicans too much, in the sense that it has become complicit in selling out America’s democracy to corporations and powerful interests.
The Democrats stood by while workers were shafted, corporations bought and cheated our system, and and made matters worse by accepting the same corrupt money from the same interests they claim they are against.
While it is clear why the establishment of the Democratic Party doesn’t like Bernie, why is there such a divide among the Democratic liberal base? Granted, I don’t believe the divide is very wide, but a divide does exist, and often a very vitriolic divide at that.
There are many liberals who are not only not supporting Sanders, they are incredibly outspoken about it. Why, though? The simple answer would be to break it down to the factional divide occurring in the primary. Obviously Hillary Clinton has a lot of supporters, and this weighs heavy in the conversation.
Granted, yes, liberals can have a genuine disagreement (or even dislike) for Bernie Sanders and what he stands for. Far be it from me to tell liberals who to vote for. Yet, some of the vitriol against Bernie is uncalled for, and disappointing to me.
Many Hillary supporters have come out in-force to trash Bernie any way they can. I understand people get passionate about who the support, but I’ve seen cases where people who got along just a year ago, now won’t even talk to each other.
One example I saw was a woman who belonged to a group I follow on social media, and she flat out told every one of her friends and connections to unfollow her if they supported Bernie. She wrote a childish and silly paragraph about how Bernie supporters are “stupid” and that they are “unworthy” of her attention or friendship.
Granted this is an anecdotal example, but I’ve seen other cases where the Hillary/Bernie friction has gotten intense. There is no need for this friction, though yes, I’m biased in that I swing more towards Bernie than Hillary, but I don’t despise Hillary or think her supporters are unworthy of my friendship.
On the flip side, I’m not really seeing Bernie supporters behave quite as vitriolic. While many are proud about supporting Bernie, I haven’t seen the Bernie supporters go after Hillary supporters simply because they don’t support Bernie.
Bernie supporters seem more excited about Bernie, and not about attacking Hillary Clinton. To me it seems like a certain sense of entitlement, that Clinton is entitled to the Democratic noination. Even the DNC is slanting its support mainly in Hillary’s favor.
The fact is that Bernie has the best record when it comes to fighting progressive causes. He has championed just about every progressive issue there is, from Civil Rights, anti-war activism, environmental issues, women’s rights, and removing money from politics. His record is clear, and anyone who is not aware of it at this point chooses to remain in the dark. If you know Bernie’s record fully, and compare it to Hillary, and you still don’t like him, so be it.
Many who would support Bernie in every case now feel compelled by the Democratic Party establishment to be skeptical of him, and doubt both his credentials and his ability to affect change. The main point of criticism is that Bernie is simply “too extreme” to get anything done in an ideologically gridlocked Congress. His agenda, while admirable, will never pass Republican filibusters, even if a Democratic Congress is elected. I disagree.
Politics is not as hard of a game to play as the establishment would have you believe. It’s easy, once you know how to win. You win by taking your case to the voters, and then you let them decide. Bernie is playing hard on this. While other candidates are sucking up to donners in order to win, Bernie is relying on the support of the people. This is a powerful tactic, especially in today’s political climate.
People are angry at the political establishment, and the way Bernie can get his agenda done is by rallying the voters. One of the main issues that Bernie is running on is ending the money regime that has bought our government. The American people overwhelmingly support this. Bernie can get the progressive agenda done by doing what Obama would not do after winning an election; ignore the establishment and bring your case to the voters.
All you have to do is make your case. Just say, “I want to end money buying your representatives, and Republicans don’t. Who do you support?” The odds are overwhelmingly in Bernie’s favor on that one. “I support worker’s rights to a living wage and decent jobs, Republicans don’t. Who do you support?” Bernie will get them every time. The reason is because Bernie is unlikely to play by the establishment’s rules. He won’t play their game, which perpetuates the broken system for American voters.
Those on the left who criticize Bernie’s goals as being “unrealistic” need to understand that you can’t win on these issues unless you fight for them. Not just tacitly fighting, but throwing the kitchen sink and the bathtub if necessary. To those who support Hillary based on this reason, do you really think she will fight the very establishment she belongs to the way Bernie would?
Bernie is not the enemy, and yes neither is Hillary and yet who you support will determine the course of the country. There is a reason why Bernie draws crowds of thousands to his events, even in deep red states. The people are screaming for a change, and Hillary is unlikely to deliver it.