In the shadow of the DNC, Frank Schaeffer wrote several harsh articles aimed at Bernie supporters who won’t support Hillary. In response, my pairbond wrote this letter:
I am disappointed in your lack of understanding toward Bernie supporters who oppose Hillary. You are toeing the same tired party line of our responsibility to choose the lesser of two evils. Why does the prospect of an unqualified and loose-cannon racist president obligate us to waste our vote supporting a woman who is so drunk on the prospect of power that she will hold to no moral ground to get there? Throngs of people voted for Bernie in the primaries because they are tired of politics as we know it, and getting a good president, rather than just one who isn’t as bad as the other guy, means we have to undermine the structure that gave us the two clowns we have now. Hillary is not progress. Hillary is not safety. Hillary is yes to voter fraud and political corruption. If that means that Trump is elected by default, that is not the fault of Bernie supporters who won’t get with the program. It is the fault of Hillary’s own corruption and myopic quest for power, and nothing else.
This two party, lesser-of-two-evils system that we have is our reality only because we let it be. Times change, circumstances change, and what seemed inevitable thirty years ago does not have to be the rule for today. We have a moral obligation as voters to choose the best person to rule our country. We have other qualified candidates. It’s time we put one in office.
A blog post on Bipartisan Soapbox implicitly compares Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders to Hitler (illustrating Godwin’s Law with a rapid convergence time) by using the title “Bernie’s Brown Shirts”. The article rehashes tired arguments against Bernie by criticizing his supporters, while (as usual) giving the behavior of Hillary’s supporters a complete pass. It objects to Bernie’s policy proposals in rather Republican-sounding terms (complaining about single-payer health insurance, the proposal to raise taxes on the rich, and the desire to see justice done with the bankers who gambled with the financial well-being of America’s poor) while repeating the inaccurate claim that Bernie doesn’t care about or receive support from people of color (frequently with the implicit or explicit accusation that Bernie’s movement is only one of young white males).
There’s more than a little hypocrisy in the article’s criticism of the behavior of Bernie’s supporters, given that Hillary has many supporters who are just as vicious and who raise cries of sexism at the first hint of criticism of Hillary’s policies (as a cursory inspection of some of the popular pro-Hillary Twitter feeds will show)–all without a hint of disavowal from the Hillary campaign. Further, the idea of “Bernie bros” has been misrepresented by the media from the beginning. I myself saw when a prominent female blogger laid forth, then retracted, an accusation of sexism against Bernie supporters.
What happened was that this blogger posted in support of Hillary, and almost immediately received a flurry of sexist insults and harassments that she initially assumed were from Bernie supporters. On further examination, however, she discovered that the comments were actually from normal male internet trolls with no connection to Bernie. This, however, did nothing to prevent CNN, BBC, and even Bill Clinton from using this as evidence of the regressive and vicious behavior of Bernie supporters–in spite of the loud and clear protests of the blogger herself! The truth was ignored for the sake of the narrative, though a minimal amount of investigation would have revealed it.
What this article amounts to, then, is a furthering of the effort to portray Sanders as fundamentally bad (hence the allusion to Hitler), instead of acknowledging the validity of his policies in general while disagreeing with them in particular (i.e. civil dialogue). It represents an all-too-pervasive instinct for demonizing someone you simply don’t like. I don’t like Hillary or her policies, but I am careful not to demonize her, because such behavior is not appropriate or helpful.