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Okay so it looks like once again we have to talk about *deep sigh* Bernie Sanders. If you have ever considered putting a rose on your twitter profile you're going to hate this. I'm not saying leave now because honestly, you need to hear this all, but you're not going to like it.
First thing's first: Bernie Sanders is not liberal. He is not progressive. And he's not even really a Democrat. He never has been any of these things and he does not value them. That is why he failed in 2016. Real progressives, real liberals, real democrats saw through him.
So what do I mean by a "real" liberal? you are probably angrily typing right this moment. Well, a real liberal matches words to action. Simple as that. BS makes some really nice speeches on the occasion that he doesn't equate racial inequality with economics alone ...
He's made some just startlingly sexist and racist remarks. (Identity politics thing, "she's not qualified," 'more blacks are in prison because they're more criminal' that comment was made in 2015, etc.) but as bad as those are they're not the basis of why I say he's not liberal.
You can SAY anything. But particularly here where we have a guy who makes these insanely bigoted statements when caught off-guard, but also speeches that seem like he's pushing a liberal agenda, actions speak louder than words. And BS' actions ... are not great.
BS voted against the Amber Alert, for funding of the Iraq War, for the crime bill, has voted in support of the NRA his entire career, against child healthcare, abstained from a vote for Planned Parenthood, and against rapists having to disclose their HIV status to their victims.
And that's JUST *some* of his votes. Now, sure, a vote in the Senate isn't as simple as just for and against, except in BS' case ... it kind of is. His colleagues do not like him and not because he speaks truth to power or something like that because ... dude is power ...
The reason he's not liked is because he's a pork barrel politician. He'll vote against things simply because he wants more credit for the bill or didn't get enough money out of it or the bill wasn't written by a man. So being a kinda useless mercurial wildcard, Dems reject him.
This in and of itself is something that really pisses BS off. There was the clear sting that Obama, a black man rejected him when he stayed in the primary thinking he'd be named, and that HRC, a woman, beat him, but he's got a considerably bigger chip on his shoulder.
Sanders has openly and repeatedly said that he thinks the DNC is as bad as the GOP and that his mission is to dismantle the DNC. Now, let's say you agree with that. I think you're a bit silly, but let's just put that to one side. Why focus on the DNC before the GOP?
BS doesn't have a plan for after he dismantles the DNC other than, "I'm swept to power in a massive wave." And it's okay to fantasize ... but do it with your action figures rather than the country if you please.
A lot of people seem to believe he'll create a third party that will replace the DNC, but that is also silly. We have I think, hundreds of political parties. Yes, the DNC and GOP are the only real big ones, but that's an artifact of the Electoral College really.
Under a Parliamentary system we can actually have multiple parties and while the GOP seems to be a bit stodgy the DNC actually does lend it's national infrastructure to members of other political parties.
So contrary to BS' argument getting rid of the DNC won't so much make room for a third party as it will hand over all authority and control to the GOP and completely preclude the inclusion of second or third parties.
But the really creepy part of this is that BS TOTALLY KNOWS THIS. He knows that if he were successful in destroying the DNC he'd be handing over control to the GOP basically in perpetuity. He also has willingly and repeatedly taken funding from the DNC to secure his elections.
This leaves us with two options for evaluating BS' motives and character:

1. He's mercurial and self-absorbed to the point of corrosivity and willing to do anything for power.

or

2. He's basically a sleeper agent trying to undermine and destroy progressivism in America.
I happen to think that second option is a bit outlandish, but then again .... BS does prop up a lot of racist and sexist statements from the GOP so ... I dunno.
The elephant in the room here (not a pun, I swear) is his "Revolution" and we're going to talk about this a bit more later. BS supporters will say that this is why he's trying to purge Obama's and HRC's work. He's going to 'get rid of it and replace it with something ... better.'
Your first alarm should be that I can use Trump quotes to explain BS sentiments.

But the reason I can do that is BS and Trump are appealing to the same kind of people - white men afraid of status threat - and have the same level of follow through, which is to say, none.
See, the thing about a revolution is that the powerful die. If we were to have another revolution in the USA Sanders would be one of the first on the chopping block. He is a white male millionaire and a Senator. And again, he knows all this. Again put a pin in it.
Back to BS' angerface at Obama, HRC, and the DNC. Through the 2016 primary BS was on a warpath against super-delegates. And yeah he got basically none of them, but he also lost the popular vote and therefore the pledged delegates.
In 2016 the pledged delegates outnumbered the super delegates, and in 2008 the way Obama won was by having a groundswell of pledged delegates so that the super delegates decided he was a decent guy and they would honor the majority vote.
Purportedly, BS was trying to emulate Obama's trajectory. But, Obama brushes his teeth with an encyclopedia and genuinely cares for the greater good. As in, my man loses sleep over the international slave trade. BS ... is very well rested and not terribly intellectual ....
So BS was never going to have Obama's popularity meaning he couldn't follow his trajectory. BS understood this lack of popularity as failure of black people to support him and ... okay so the Black Caucus is a power in the DNC but still .... dude. Just. Dude.
BS' other path to the nomination would have been ... through the super delegates. This is actually a super flawed presumption, but the idea was that if he could get the super delegates then the DNC primary voters would all fall in line. I know, lols.
That was never going to happen. For two reasons.
1. Its laughable to think that rank-in-file Democrats are going to do what the super delegates are doing just ‘cause. It’s actually the other way around.
And
2. The super delegates knew BS too well to vote for him.
So let’s talk briefly about who super delegates are. Super delegates are basically party leaders. Some are Senators and ex-Senators. These are people who had to work with BS and deal with his “the DNC should be dismantled because I want more power” rhetoric.
BS really wanted to have someone primary Obama in 2012, and his run in 2016 was basically about sticking it to the DNC especially long time members and elected officials within the DNC. So he was essentially trying to tell the party to help him to get the party to f itself.
All this seems massively illogical. So let’s take those pins out from before. The way all this makes sense is if we understand BS as a classic populist.
Populism is like fascism. It doesn’t really have an absolute definition, and it’s sort of one of those ‘you’ll know it when you see it,’ things. So other populists include but are not limited to Trump, Goldwater, Ross Perot, and early Hitler.
Two scary things here:

1.Populism is not necessarily a liberal or conservative “disease,” so there’s no inoculation or cure for it.

2.When populists make it to power they often become fascists. Either that or fascists use populism to come to power.
So let’s try to define populism. There’s books on this but basically populism is likely to happen at times where there is either economic instability or status threat for the hegemonic population. Populists use simple messaging and make big promises.
Populists never tell their base, “no.” Populists will also imbue their base with a sense of mythic entitlement and portray those in power as the evil “establishment” which must be overthrown.
Populist rhetoric is basically, ‘as long as you believe in me you are part of the in group, anything you say and do is totally fine because you are bereft of what you truly deserve and the moment you question me you are part of the other.’
And here’s where things get dangerous. Populists will always as in I can think of no historical exception to this rule designate one or many groups of people as the undeserving “other.”
Populists will tell their base that the “establishment” is in league with the “other,” and giving them all the things that rightfully belong to the populist’s base. For Hitler the ‘other’ was Jews, for Trump it’s PoC and women, for Stalin …. Also Jews ...
and for BS it’s women and African Americans. Because women and AAs are the powerhouse of the DNC.
Many of you are going to go, ‘but BS has AAs in his campaign.’ Yup. So did Trump. Hitler also had a few Jews working for him as well. At varying levels.
And I’m not saying that BS plans to put all women and AAs in a camp, but given how okay he was with the erosion of our rights and mistreatment within his own campaign …. This is not a man I would trust.
But the big issue with populists is usually not the populist himself. Usually. Hitler and Trump are the obvious exception to that rule, but even in their case the bigger issue is and was their supporters. In most cases populists don’t get elected.
They don’t get elected because they are by design divisive. They are literally telling white men, “you are the chosen ones and it’s okay for you to spit on everyone else.”
They promote conspiracy theories, they overpromise and then chase out anyone who questions the overpromise, and they condone hateful and/or cultish rhetoric. That’s not a winning strategy in a proper democracy.
Now, in our case there’s Russian interference and the GOP is just indulging the hell in the lawlessness like it’s the last days or something, but normally we wouldn’t have to fear either Trump or BS ...
...simply because they’re both so divisive and their base really only consists of about 30% of the population which they share between one another.
The bigger issue normally is with their supporters. Berniebros in my experience are actually worse than Trump supporters. They’re every bit as sexist and racist, but the difference is that the violent Trump supporters don’t usually have the means be it time or money to bother ppl
Terrorist shooters notwithstanding.
Berniebros on the other hand are rich. And they are happy to spend time and money harassing and doxxing and generally behaving like racist, sexist buffoons. Oh and apparently several of the more recent shootings and attempted SWATs were perpetrated by Berniebros.
The BEST defense I’ve heard from BS supporters for this behavior is that it’s not happening. But … I mean …. It’s happening so much it’s in the news.
There’s screenshots of the threats they’ve made, there’s letters from ABA, there are even news articles and photographs from multiple events where Berniebros were engaging in overtly violent behavior specifically addressed towards women and minorities.
So the next best defense I hear is, “well it’s okay because those people I threatened and attacked are members of the establishment.” I mean …. If you’re a Nazi or an abusive husband that makes sense ….
But excuses aside the big thing that should worry everyone about BS and his supporters is that they are functionally indistinguishable from Trump and his supporters.
Both target primarily white middle-class men with the message that they are the “forgotten” people, both are dismissive of women, both are contemptuous of people of color, both encourage doxxing, both encourage or do not discourage violence, ...
both promote conspiracy theories about the media being against them, both regularly engage in abusive behaviors, both ascribe to a “if you’re not with me you’re against me” mentality ...
and crucially both promote this idea that the only way their base can ever possible get whole is if they are elected to power. It’s basically the messiah complex times a billion.
The kids in cages thing and “Planned Parenthood is establishment” thing are both obscenely bad, but BS’ and Trump’s respective messiah complexes are the issue which could bring down democracy.
The fact is neither BS nor Trump offer anything of substance that isn’t offered by actual hundreds of other politicians. Trump basically doesn’t even have a policy anymore and BS’ entire platform was copy pasted from HRC.
I’m not kidding. He offered exactly the same as she did, he was just going to also get rid of the ACA, tax the middle class into oblivion, give tax breaks to the rich, and also have no actual plan for anything else.
Remember how BS tried to flip the blame for Flint on HRC? Yeah, he did that because she was passionate about trying to fix the problem and he realized it got her political traction.
But my point here is that let’s say you don’t accept my argument that BS and Trump are populists. That’s actually okay. Ask yourself if you would vote for anyone else if that person had the same plan or better.
If you can reasonably answer yes then in 2016 you were happy to cast a vote for HRC and are not supporting BS now because …. There are people with better versions of BS’ plan and HRC’s plan always was better.
And as for Trump …. Well no sane person would vote for that fool so there’s just no argument.
I will however guess that if you are a BS supporter at this point your head is about to explode as you try to come up with the means or reason to punish or dismiss me.
I can hear your keyboard from here and as for sources for my claims there’s politifacts, the NYT, MSNBC, WaPo, Congressional records and just all of the books. Have a search yourself and while you’re at it look up the term “sealioning.”
The problem here is ideological rigidity. Trump and BS supporters are not actually conservative or liberal. They’re a spectrum. But their supposed ideology has become tied to their identity forcing them to find a way to “perform” it.
And adherence to Trump and BS has become their means of “proving” their ideological allegiance.
If Trump or BS supporters do have to choose someone else to support they have to evaluate where they really stand on the issues and many of them will have to then support things like the ACA which *gasp* was promoted by a black man *faints*.
As long as Trump and BS are there promising “Medicare for all” etc and conveniently doing nothing to make that happen their supporters don’t have to debate anything and anything they don’t like is the fault of the conveniently proffered “other.”
Consider also neither BS’ nor DT’s policies have been consistently liberal or conservative. DT is weirdly big government in a lot of places including tax code and that whole “Medicare for all” thing is actually undermining more progressive plans to achieve Universal Healthcare.
Claiming to support BS’ or DT’s policies has become a means of signaling group membership, but it’s sociological rather than political.
These are not actual ideological positions they’re just signaling that you’re a “real” liberal or conservative read: virtue signaling, I’m one of you don’t kill me.
And that’s actually REALLY dangerous for multiple reasons. Firstly, again … populism/fascism. But also when ideology ceases to be actually an ideological spectrum and becomes simply tribal signaling, that means there’s no room for compromise aka the soul of democracy.
To that end BS’ fantasy that he’ll be swept to power on a tidal wave of support does actually make sense. In his world where there’s only his way or death that is the only possible outcome. But for everyone but BS, that is autocracy.
The Democratic field at the moment is absurdly large. But honestly, that’s a really good thing. It means we can have someone other than BS. It means we have a chance for *actual* democracy and real progressivism.
There are several people on that stage besides BS who do not belong there, but even for the very few BS supporters who are actually super progressive there’s viable candidates besides BS on that stage.
The issue is whether or not BS’ supporters can overcome their prejudice and fear enough to let him go.
HRC did actually win in 2016 very much without BS’ support so we don’t really NEED BS’ waning base. But it would be really nice if they’d stop harassing and doxxing people.
And regardless of who you support remember what I said earlier. You are never inoculated from populism, fascism, or hate. This is something you need to actively fight every single day and if you think you don’t then you REALLY do.
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