It's nothing personal, progressives don't despise her, they despise what she represents

The divide in the Democratic Party is real, and is driven mostly by populist elements who want to see a more progressive presidential candidate run this election cycle. In this divide, a split has clearly emerged between Clinton and Sanders supporters which has become heated at times. One point that comes from this is that Sanders supporters hate Hillary Clinton, as if there is some personal vendetta taken out against her.

Sanders supporters don’t hate Hillary Clinton the person. What this election has become about is breaking away from the DC establishment, and Hillary is just a huge reminder of this establishment. This isn’t a personal attack on her character, but rather an evident observation that Hillary represents the old guard that progressives want to overcome.

This isn’t to say Hillary isn’t a liberal, and sure compared to someone like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz she seems great. But, this isn’t really a good standard to base the candidate on. Just about anyone would be better than Trump or Cruz as president. It’s such a low standard to start from, that it doesn’t really help Hillary’s case too well.

The Democratic Party establishment is making a big mistake in thinking that Clinton is more electable. The honest truth is the main excitement for the progressive base of the Democratic Party swings heavily in Bernie’s favor. The primary is far from over, and it is unwise to assume that the progressives amped about Bernie Sanders will all of sudden hold their noses again and vote for Clinton with the same level of enthusiasm.

It isn’t personal, it’s about the symbolic meaning of this election. We cannot elect another establishment candidate if we expect to at last overturn the oligarchy of DC. The Democratic Party establishment is passing on this idea and believes that Clinton is more electable, despite every poll indicating the opposite.

Clinton either ties or loses to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz in a couple of poll results, while Sanders actually beats Trump and Cruz by decent margins in every one. Clinton has much more personal baggage with her, which a Republican candidate can exploit much easier than with Sanders. Clinton also doesn’t appeal well to Independents as much.

The reason progressives are swaying away from Clinton is not because there is some petty personal grievances at play, but because it is time for an overhaul and Clinton does not appeal as the one able to accomplish this.

Of course things get heated in primaries. Have Sanders supporters said mean things to Clinton supporters? Of course. Have Clinton supporters said mean things to Sanders supporters? Of course. That’s the way primaries work, it seems. Remember, tensions were just as high in 2008 between the Clinton and Obama camps.

Progressives are rallying to Sanders not out of hate for Clinton, but out of a desire to see the old faces and names of the DC establishment fade away, and to have a progressive truly capable of stopping guys like Trump or Cruz from becoming president. This isn’t about who hates who, but about who has the right vision matched with the best ability to accomplish this vision.


  1. I called no one childish, read more carefully if you wish to reply. “childish” is what is lobed at progressive for not following failed logic in voting “Party Line”. I don’t expect this comment to come easy to you, as democrats are far too busy holding their nose and voting against something short term rather than fighting for what is really and obviously needed long term. If the electorate is intransigent, it would be better to wake it from it’s comfortably worsening conditions, and an understandably angry conservative backlash next election, which is all a Clinton Presidency would represents.

  2. Your commenters kind of contradict your argument. There are progressives that just disagree, that’s true. There are a LOT of haters. Or maybe you don’t call them progressives? That’s a thought.

  3. A really interesting column that serves as a cautionary tale to anyone who understands just how serious the stakes are in November of this year. The Democratic Party has two credible candidates but only one is going to win the nomination. Again, given what is at stake in the upcoming election—the White House, the Supreme Court for potentially decades to come and, just as important, a majority in the Senate—those who prefer the candidate that does not win will do well to get behind the Democratic ticket and do so enthusiastically.

    Quite honestly, if you’re telling me that, if your preferred candidate isn’t nominated, you’ll stay home on election day or that you’ll fling your vote to a Third or Twentieth Party as some kind of personal, individual statement, get the hell out of my way and get the hell out of the way of those of us who are serious about change in this country. It might put a little swagger in your step to tell your buddies about the personal statement you made in the voting booth, but that’s all you will have accomplished. And your new-found swagger won’t make a damn bit of difference in the larger scheme of things.

    It’s not that individuals don’t make a difference. It’s that they typically make a difference by becoming an active, invested part of a movement that is bigger than they are. Reading Taylor Branch’s epic trilogy about the Civil Rights movement was, years ago, a revelation to me; i.e., the “face” of the movement in my time was Dr. King, but the movement was much, much bigger than him.

    In the months leading up to the convention and then the election, it will be equally important, when debating one’s choice of the two candidates, to stick to the issues and stay away from (1) the name calling, (2) the bogus characterizations of Democratic candidates that owe to Republican strategists using the old Lee Atwater playbook (what are you doing listening to the Republicans about Democratic candidates in the first place—that’s a crowd whose nominee could well be Donald Trump and you’re telling me you trust their judgment of either Hillary or Bernie?).

    Republican voters are, by-and-large, issue-ignorant. When they’re not calling people names, they’re throwing around talking points. But, at least in the South, once they get past their talking points per this issue or that, they’re lost. Lost. Study the issues. Know your stuff. When they talk about their “Wall,” ask them about the logistical/engineering issues (2000 miles across rivers, canyons, deserts, mountains, etc.) and ask them about the best estimates of how much it would cost. Hell, ask them if they’re talking concrete or chain-link or split-rail. And be friggin’ aggressive about rebutting the personal attacks made by Republicans and the misleading/false/lying statements they make about the issues. I may be one of two Democrats in my neighborhood but I notice that my Republican friends are wary about broaching political issues with me. And that’s only because they don’t, in reality, know jack-squat about the issues and they know that, well, I do.

    As I said, this column should serve as a very timely cautionary tale. We’re all part of something bigger than we are but, for that something to come to pass, we’ve all got to be all-in. Will we disagree about this or that? Of course. But in what movement does everyone agree on everything?

  4. I don’t hate the Wall Street Hillbillary, I do recognize the indisputable fact that it is a corporate owned tool of kleptocracy. Complacency and delusion will be enough to win the White House for Hillary,after all is said and done she’s the favorite of Greedy Oligarchic Plutocrats.

    • I will vote for the dem candidate. If it is Clinton, I will have to pinch my nose while doing so. She does work for the oligarchy.Apparently,” they” don’t worry so much about so called social issues and are comfortable with whatever way the wind blows on gender/sexual rights, etc., as long as they can steal the nation’s wealth. So Hilarry will give leave their grip on the economic system intact, while nominating Supreme Court justices who do the same but uphold more open non-economic positions.
      When Clinton loving friends extol her “lifetime of public service”, I always reply that it is amazing for someone who has “dedicated ” themselves to public service to get so incredibly stinking rich!!!! And the stink part relates to corruptibility. Bill & Hillary have a net worth approaching, conservatively, a quarter billion dollars gleaned from their lifetimes of “public service”. See anything fishy here?
      Vote Bernie for integrity.

      • I disagree, she has a far better chance to lose against Trump than Sanders does, yet the the Establishment loves their comfort so much, and cares so little about the rest of the population, they are willing to take that scary chance with her. In response, I would prefer that she actually lose to Trump. Painful lessons are the best to learn from, and it would seem the ONLY way to teach these monarchs. If she DOES win, she will be the last establishment candidate to ever make any headway in the country for a long time to come . . it’s over for the establishments greedy ways.

        • From my seat, I think Sanders’ supporters are wrong about the general election. The populace that votes in them is a far cry from the active, politically informed, socially conscious and aggressively political primary audience; Bernie’s numbers in the primary are unlikely to transfer to the general election.
          He’s the Republicans dream opponent – an admitted Democratic Socialist who wants to re distribute wealth. With a very thin skin and a bad track record of handling perceived insults. Make no mistake – our candidates biggest challenge will be to withstand and rebut constant lies and accusations and attacks from the right. Hillary can do this; she has for three decades. I have not seen evidence that Bernie can manage a campaign against such hatred and evil. I fear he’d crumble under a salvo of right wing attack ads. I love him, his policies, but don’t think he can win.

  5. No, sorry, it’s personal emotional hatred of Hillary and little else driving Sanders most vocal supporters. I know a few, and they aren’t shy about hating Hillary. And in at least one case I know its a Democrat still mad about Monica Lewinsky.
    Bernie’s most vocal supporters are shrill and insulting. They don’t offer reasons to vote for him, they tell me I’m a tool of the establishment. That I am not educated on the race. That I have been fooled by evil billionaires. It’s the same old routine — my choice is better than yours, so you must not be as clever and thoughtful as I.
    Bernie I like. His policies? Looking good. His fan base? UGH. I am hoping the comments section of political articles isn’t representative of the mentality of his supporters. He deserves better.

  6. Sorry Mike they do hate Hillary and it is Personal.. so don’t try to cover it up.. I can’t tell you how many times I read Bernie supporters fb post and the personal attacks are ruthless particularly from men who call her a cunt, evil and a liar….if that isn’t personal I don’t know what is. Benie has been taking pages right out of the Karl Rove playbook and selling it to young people to paint Hillary as the hated establishment… yes, aren’t all collage kids “against the establishment” … and yeah Revolution… they love that word too… so the way I see it … Bernie is doing a good job himself of making young people hate Hillary… and they have bought it hook line and sinker. In the long run Hillary will be our nominie but since Sanders and his “fans” have been told to hate the establishment and Hillary… then that has done a lot of damage to getting them to vote for the Democrat/ Hillary in Novemeber. They declare it themselves every day on fb saying they will never vote for that bitch I will vote for Trump instead… So don’t sugar coat reality… Sanders does enought of that himself.

    • I am reminded of numerous similar diagnoses of what I , and other Skunk Throwing Libtards “really believe”….from Teabillies and other assorted Right Wingers.
      How many times have I been informed that I “love Stalin”, and “want to put everyone in camps”, and that I want to “outlaw Christianity” and “Destroy America”?
      Of course, none of these folks ever deigned to ask an actual Liberal what they wanted to see the country become.
      They took the utterances of their preferred media mouthpieces as “Truth”….and there was nothing I could say to change their minds.
      What I see, when I venture into Social Media, is Hillary-ites using the same Teabilly tactics.
      Against their fellow Democrats, no less.
      This has been the case from the get go, and there has been no nuanced argument that seems to have any purchase.
      To me, and many other Liberal/Progressives, the Clinton years were an undemocratic disaster…paving the way for all the Corporate Hegemony and Right Wing Bullhorns that have come after.
      Triangulation and “New Democrat Centrism” destroyed the Liberal Base.
      But it seems to be a Sin in Democratic Circles to criticize a Clinton.
      To do so any way makes one a traitor and a hater and and enemy.
      I’ll go with Bernie, and then I’ll go Green.
      The Democratic Establishment has lost my support.
      The blame lies with them.

      • Of course others are to blame Amfortas. Of course. I have seen bashers and haters on the H side – I often call it out – I’ve seen more lately – but the nasty from the Bernie side started early and has been quite non-stop. And I have been called lots of names. That won’t stop me from supporting Bernie if he wins. Apparently you would rather sabotage and give Trump a shot at the Supreme Court. Good for you. Be proud and pure.

    • I agree. I wish it wasn’t so, but I have never seen the ignorance of factual data, the vitriol, the hatred spewed more venomously than I have in this election. I was an Obama supporter from day one and I NEVER saw anyone attack her so viciously. they may not have liked her, but they weren’t as un-hinged about her.

    • @amfortas, I am a Bernie supporter, however, I am disgusted at the hate thrown Hilary’s way. people making fun of her clothing, demonizing her for policies her husband put into place and worst of all spreading lies they should know aren’t true. I’ll leave that bulkshit to the rwnj. and by going “green” you fall into the exact thing the gop wants. learn from perot, Nader. your support of anyone but the democrat nominee is dangerous to our entire country. and quite frankly, against everything Bernie has said.

    • Amfortas, here’s your litmus test to find out if you support Bernie because you believe in him and respect him, or you just want to hate on Clintons. If Hillary is nominated, and Sanders says – as I expect he will – “we need to support the democratic candidate” – what will you do? Trust Bernie’s judgement and do as he requests, or turn away and refuse to vote?
      If the latter, well guess what – you don’t respect Bernie and you’re just getting off on being “revolutionary”…
      Hope you will vote with the party regardless of nomination, because I WILL VOTE SANDERS OR CLINTON. That’s because I care more about the country than my ego, or an under the desk BJ.

      • What I see is a fundamental myopic and intransigence position on the part of the DNC, clinging to the Center right policies which gain favor with the wealthy elite and to serve their interests alone, while our infrastructure crumbles and our public education system gets starved out of existence. To support Clinton makes no sense if you actually care about the welfare of this country and it’s people. You treat this like blue team red team, just a game to win. I respectfully disagree, both with your position on Clinton, and that you should regard yourself as anything but a political party member. I do not, nor should you, consider that you hold any kind of liberal or progressive philosophical underpinnings to your opinions. You too are simply caught up in a very depressing and self defeating power game, “elite vs. elite”. Even more pathetic is your expectation that those who ACTUALLY care should join you in that hapless cause, as if voting for the better candidate is somehow “childish”. Seriously, if it take a nightmare to wake you folks up, so be it.

        • Thanks for “respectfully” disagreeing while taking the time to call me childish, pathetic, hapless and not a liberal. That’s exactly what this article is about. You’re hubris and venom drips from your comments.

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