Why The Berners Are Wrong

There’s been a long discussion about Bernie v Hillary in the “This Is Just Sad” comment thread, and while I’m sure everyone is sick of the conversation, this is my blog, so I get to have the last word. Tee hee.

Bernie has obviously lost the nomination, but there are still some true believers out there, the folks I call the Stalwarts. Most of those, I maintain, are people who never intended to vote for Hillary anyway and probably never will. They call themselves #NeverHillary for a reason. Alrighty, then. I really don’t see the need to play nice and give Bernie all sorts of concessions and basically coax and coddle the Stalwarts along. They call themselves #BernieorBust for a reason, too.

But here’s where I get to tell those folks why they’re wrong.

I’ve seen the Berner arguments against Hillary here, there, and everywhere. It’s all the same exact stuff, verbatim, whether it’s on my blog, on Bernie Twitter or in Facebook groups. So, let’s unpack this, shall we?

The Stalwarts’ main arguments come down to three basic things:

1) Hillary is corrupt/a corporate puppet/Wall Street whore;
2) The system is corrupt and only a “non-establishment” person can overhaul it;
3) I live in a Red State so my vote doesn’t matter anyway, so I’ll lodge a protest vote.

These are the most common arguments; I know there are others. Some Stalwarts may have a pet issue they deeply care about — Keystone XL, pensions, Wall Street reform, Israel, etc. If you are one of those people, then you do not want to vote for Bernie. You want Bernie in the Senate where that stuff actually gets addressed. I would maintain that Bernie has a very poor record of accomplishment during his tenure in Congress, but YMMV. The point is, Congress makes the laws and holds the purse strings. Not the White House.

Let’s look at the other arguments.

• Hillary the corrupt/puppet/whore. Facts not in evidence. And can we please stop calling powerful women “whores”? That is some sexist shit, and it needs to stop. Now.

These are the same Republican arguments I’ve been hearing for decades. I find it really amusing that people who call themselves left-wingers are so eager to parrot Breitbart/Broadside Books when it suits their needs. But I’m not surprised. The right-wing has turned hating the Clintons into a cottage industry for over 20 years. Remember “what will we tell the children?” This is what they told the children: the Clintons are sleazy, corrupt, whores, thieves, yada yada. This is how the conservative machine delegitimizes successful Democrats. I eagerly anticipate the coming smear campaign against Barack and Michelle Obama. God forbid either of them should aspire to achieve anything beyond the White House, right? Gotta poison that legacy.

Many of the Stalwarts were in grade school during the Clinton impeachment hearings. They internalized this messaging without even realizing it; it was fed to them with their morning Fruit Loops. So they drank the right-wing Kool-aid without even being aware of it. No wonder.

(Let me say: I am relishing how all of the main players from the impeachment days have finally gotten their come-uppances. The Clintons, however, have done just fine. Interesting, that.)

• The system is corrupt and we need a “non-establishment” person to overhaul it. Ah yes, this is a very popular talking point among the Stalwarts. After all, “I voted for hope and change and all I got was the same old stuff.”

Well, that’s not EXACTLY true, we did get the biggest advance on healthcare coverage in my lifetime. Obamacare has actually saved lives. We also got marriage equality for my gay and lesbian friends. We got pulled out of the worst economic depression in my lifetime. We got a lot of stuff: a changed relationship with Cuba, a deal with Iran, etc.

But if you’re one of these purity trolls who thinks that wasn’t good enough, that it was only half an enchilada not the whole enchilada, then pay attention: Obama ran for president because he wanted to change the way business was done in Washington. That was the big theme of the 2008 campaign. And he failed. He concedes that he failed. He promised what he could not deliver. And Bernie, too, will fail at this.

A big reason why is because the damn young people failed to show up to vote in 2010. Until the whiners and complainers remember that change happens when people show up to vote IN EVERY ELECTION, not just every 4 years, they will always be disappointed and change will always be a pipe dream.

The other reason is that these are deeply entrenched, long-established systems and institutions. Changing them will take a long, long, long time. No one candidate, no one president, no one election will do that. Change happens slowly and incrementally. That is reality on earth. Your not liking it doesn’t make it any less true. Take it from an old person who knows.

But the main point is, if you were disillusioned by Obama because reality didn’t match up to the campaign promises, then you would be extremely disappointed in Bernie. He cannot deliver on his promises. Obama couldn’t, and he can’t, either.

• I can lodge a protest vote because I live in a Red State. Just, no. Oh, how tired I am tired of hearing that. Yes, my state is deep red, but every vote still matters. Excuse me for pointing this out, but Donald fucking Trump is the Republican candidate, in case you hadn’t noticed. The Republican Party’s weakest, most divisive candidate in a generation. Republicans are fleeing the “look at my African American over there!” guy like rats off a sinking ship (a tired metaphor but unfortunately apt).

Trump is poised to give the Republican Party its final shiv, something which has been coming since the disastrous W presidency. This is an electoral game-changer, and there’s no doubt that some Red States could turn Blue this time around. Et tu, Utah?

This is truly unprecedented. The fractured Republican party has handed Democrats a big opportunity. Anyone who thinks they have the luxury of a protest vote at a time when any state could flip is a selfish idiot that I have no time for. Also, too, those “Clinton is the same as Trump” people. That is too stupid for words. If that is what you think, then crack a book sometime. Maybe read up on what happened in 2000 when 500 Stalwarts could have kept George W. Bush out of the White House.

So yes, I am right and you’re wrong. It’s my blog after all. 🙂 Also, I’m going to be super busy the next week or two so this may be my last post for a while. Thought I’d make it a meaty one.


Filed under 2016 Election, 2016 Presidential Election, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton

13 responses to “Why The Berners Are Wrong

  1. A_Falk

    no discussion of HRC being a foreign policy hawk?
    no mention of neoliberalism / third way?
    no thoughts about america’s relationship to the world?

    after observing the curseword-filled blog for a few months, my conclusion:
    the blog author is, more than anything else, concerned with:

    1. dealing / engaging with hyperbole where the author identifies it
    2. engaging in hyperbole in kind

    stay angry, i guess

  2. Thank you SB, so eloquently expressed with adequate righteous anger and exasperation.

  3. Thank you ! ! ! But I also blame the media, especially MSNBC and CNN. At least Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews have changed a bit.

  4. Judith Mann Costello

    Brava, SB!

  5. I’ve talked to a couple of fair-minded individuals, one a progressive independent, one a moderate democrat. Both seemed to parrot this riff about Hillary. She speaks up for women and against harassment in the workplace, but when its her own husband on trial, she just looks the other way. This argument assumes that Bill Clinton has been proven guilty of several instances of sexual harassment.

    I was actually lucky enough to sit under a Jamba Juice umbrella last Saturday with the distinguished Lori Saldaña and a new friend, a progressive Clairemonster. He was also a Bernie supporter. While Lori stood up to talk to other people, I asked him what was the real problem with Hillary, and he said, in all seriousness, how Bill Clinton “perjured” himself under oath. And that this was a serious crime, punishable by jail or prison. ?!? For real?

    There really is a mantle of fear and distrust of Clintons that rests over a large number of people today, not just Breitbart readers or followers of O’Keefe, or Rush Limbaugh listeners, but actually fairly well-informed and truth-seeking fellow progressives and democrats. Citizens United has not been in vain.

  6. Bob Fischer

    If I endorse Hillary Clinton, am I going to be forced to listen to her speeches?

    • What do you think? I’ve already posted one of them over here : some women’s empowerment BS she gave to Goldman Sachs. Not exactly the nefarious Rothschild Conspiracy you guys were hoping for.

  7. Kosh III

    Your third point is dubious. Do you really think if all the third party people in Tennessee or AL/MS/etc vote for HIllary it will flip the state to blue? Maybe there is a marginal state like NC where it could happen but here?

    • We don’t need them all. We just need a handful. I was a District 17 rep in 2004 and saw the 2000 numbers. For all Republicans’ gloating about how Al Gore “lost his home state,” if we had just increased voter turnout in a few districts he would have carried the state and taken its 11 electoral votes.

      We simply don’t have the luxury of a protest vote, not with unhinged Trump in the running.

      • Kosh III

        Let me beat the dead horse some more 🙂 and add that I’m in Nashville. Did losing my one vote cost Jim Cooper his seat? Did my Green vote keep Bredesen from winning twice or Haslam to lose? I did vote for Gore, Kerry and Obama 08. (and all D all the way back to being “clean for Gene.”) Didn’t matter.

      • But Jim Cooper was never going to lose. His seat in Congress was never threatened, not by the Republican and not by whomever it was that ran against him from the left. Same with those other races. Bill Haslam is not Donald Trump. And what did you throwing your vote away accomplish? Did it make Jim Cooper more progressive? Did it teach Bill Haslam a lesson on being less hard-right?

        Look, if you’re someone who doesn’t think every vote matters then why do you even bother? Why waste your time? Do you think you’re changing anyone’s mind? Do you think anyone even fucking NOTICES?

        We have a two-party system. That’s the reality. Even Bernie and Ralphie figured that one out. That’s why Bernie ran as a Democrat in the first place. He’s not a Democrat, never has been a Democrat, but even he realized that you don’t get accomplish anything with a third party. So, Bernie tried to remake the Democratic Party in his own image. He failed. Maybe a better candidate would have had a better chance.

        Remember the reality based community? The one we used to laugh at Republicans for not living in? Yeah, well that’s where I live. Where I live, Bernie has lost, crazy Donald Trump has split the Republican Party, there is a Supreme Court vacancy and 8 years of an Obama legacy to protect, and nobody has the luxury of lodging a protest vote because Cranky McGrumps has let his ego get in the way.

        And by the way, I forgot which of you guys was all Bernied up because of unions, but why the hell did Bernie Sanders hire Chuck Rocha, a guy who pled guilty to and was convicted of embezzling from the United Steelworkers when he was its political director? What is so forgivable about that?

        Bernie ain’t your guy, buddy. Sorry. Look, you’re still in the denial stage … I get it. Most of the Bernie Stalwarts have moved on to Anger. Soon it will be bargaining, then depression and finally … acceptance.

  8. Kosh III

    Last night Trump in his “teleprompter” speech Trump solicited the support of Bernie voters like me.
    To that I reply “I fart in your general direction.”

  9. Prup (aka Jim Benton)

    Beale, I want to repeat a challenge I made on ZANDAR to everyone here, including Bernie supporters. Given what he has already said, and given this from POLITICO:

    Sanders and aides laugh at the idea that he’s damaging the party and hurting Clinton. They think they don’t get enough gratitude for how much they held back, from not targeting more Democratic members of the House and Senate who opposed him to not making more of an issue out of Clinton’s email server investigation and Bill Clinton’s sex scandals, all of which they discussed as possible lines of attack in the fall. They blame Clinton going after him on gun control for goading him into letting loose on her Goldman Sachs speeches.

    “If they hadn’t started at it by really going hard at him on guns, raising a series of issues against him, that really was what led to him being much, much more aggressive than he otherwise would have been,” said Devine, the consultant who helped engineer Sanders’ plans for a protest candidacy into a real campaign (and convinced him to run as a Democrat).

    Will someone attempt to compose the ‘party unity’ speech he is supposed to be making? Don’t forget, he still has Cornel West on the platform committee and is still trying to get Barney Frank and Dan Morrow off it. Don’t forget, the inly way he has of convincing delegate that he might be a possible choice is to continue to drag Hillary’s name down, and that, to get party unity, he has to walk back any of his ‘untrustworthy’ ‘corrupt’ and ‘rigged’ comments. (All the while reaching out to people who have gone even beyond him in Hillary-bashing, because his sane supporters don’t need to hear him telling them to ‘stop Trump’ since that’s been their goal right along.)

    I think anyone who even tries to write the opening of that speech will see the problem.