i want my bernie back

Well, I’m done with Bernie. Don’t misunderstand me. Bernie Sanders’s politics still align more closely with mine. I still think he’d have been a good president. I’m just done supporting him.

Not because of that fracas in Nevada. And that’s all it was, a fracas — a lot of bustle and fuss and loud noises. It was the result of anger and passion, and I’m of the opinion that anger and passion have a place in politics. I think it was stupid, but I don’t have any real problem with that.

And it’s not because Bernie doesn’t really have a realistic path to the nomination. That’s just math and unbending reality. I don’t think Bernie should stop his campaign and start supporting Hillary — at least not yet. I think he needs to show up in Philadelphia with as many pledged delegates as he can get, so he can help shape the official Democratic platform.

And I’m not withdrawing my support for Bernie because of what I see as the emerging hypocrisy of some of his positions. And yes, I mean hypocrisy. Early in his campaign he decried the idea of superdelegates, saying the DNC used them to overturn the will of the people. I rather agreed with him. But now that he needs them, Bernie seems to think it’s fine for superdelegates to overturn the will of the people. His argument is that polls show him doing better against Trump, so for the good of the Democratic party superdelegates should support him rather than Hillary, even though she’s won more pledged delegates and has won more votes. And about those polls — throughout this campaign Bernie has dismissed the importance of polling data. And he’s been right to do so. If we listened to the polls, Bernie would already be back home in Vermont. Yet now he’s using polling numbers to bolster his argument that superdelegates should abandon Hillary and support him. That’s hypocrisy. It’s also unrealistic to think he can disparage the Democratic party elite as part of his stump speech, and then expect them to support him (because that’s exactly what the superdelegates are — the party elite).

But even that isn’t what’s caused me to change my mind about supporting Bernie. A certain amount of hypocrisy is hard-wired into the political process. Politics is grounded in compromise, and that sometimes means you have to support a position you don’t fully agree with. Bernie has spent his entire life in public service; he’s had to do that before. Not as often as some, but he’s done it. And I don’t find fault with him for that.

I want my Bernie back

I want my Bernie back.

No, the reason I’m no longer supporting Bernie is because of an emerging pattern of whiny self-righteousness and martyrdom that I find offensive. It bothered me early on, when Bernie’s flacks dismissed Hillary’s victories in the South as somehow illegitimate, because the Southern states were Red states. It bothered me that he did that while championing his own victories in caucus states, which are the least democratic way of nominating a candidate.

I’m tired of hearing Bernie supporters who can’t be bothered to learn the requirements for voting in their primaries, then claim their votes are being suppressed. I’m tired of hearing Bernie’s campaign claim that every primary or caucus they lose has somehow been rigged, but every state he’s won is a legitimate victory. I’m tired of the histrionics, the claim that if Bernie doesn’t win then democracy is dead. And I’m really tired of hearing folks say that if Democrats don’t support Bernie, then they deserve Trump.

I still want a US$15 minimum wage. I still want free or affordable college available to everyone. I still want to see the big banks neutered, and the criminal justice system reformed, and universal medical care. I still want all those things I wanted five months ago during the Iowa caucus. I still want that Bernie Sanders.

But I don’t want what Bernie’s campaign has become. I want the old Not me, us Bernie Sanders. I don’t want the new Me, or you deserve to get fucked over Bernie campaign.

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15 thoughts on “i want my bernie back

  1. I have bee kinda feeling the same way of late. I can’t be sure, but I think that the whole Nevada flare-up was ultimately all about one delegate or something? (On a side note, I wouldn’t put it past either the Republicans or the darker factions of Hillary’s campaign—not necessarily with her knowledge or permission—posing as Bernie supporters and making the abusive and threatening phone calls.)

    I am really tired of the appearance of in-fighting versus disagreeing on issues. Remember when the Democrats looked like adults? While I will vote for Bernie in next month’s primary here, I am also wishing that Hillary gets enough delegates to put her over the top prior to the convention. I want this nasty shit to stop, and for the plans to bring down Trump to begin, which isn’t going to be easy. Trump supporters will completely ignore everything that the press digs up (or is handed on a platter by the Hillary campaign), so, I’m kinda hoping for a Libertarian (I heard talk of a Johnson/Weld ticket?) to jump in as a third option.

    Scary times, dude… scary times.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not very concerned about Trump. While his supporters are pretty fanatical, there really aren’t that many of them — not in electoral terms. He’s not going to get universal Republican support, and he’s not going to draw in more than maybe a third of Independents. Maybe. I think he’ll win a few Southern states, and maybe a few low population states out West. But if the math is bad for Bernie, it’s really really really bad for Boy Donnie.

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      • Republicans fall in line, and with the way that Clinton has been vilified for the last twenty-five years (you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!), I can’t count on what my heart wants to believe, namely a Goldwater-like drubbing of Trump. I refuse to underestimate the GOP’s ability to get votes for even the worst of candidates.

        I look forward, however, to your crowing about how there was nothing to worry about.

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  2. I agree with all your points. You stated them very well.

    I support all Bernie’s philosophical points, and I think, if Hillary’s smart, she’ll incorporate them into her own speeches. I worry more about Bernie’s age and state of health, because we need a president who can run a four-year marathon. I also suspect that, if in office, he’d be a rather ineffective president, because I don’t think he’s much of a horse-trader who can get deals done. I think he’d be a dolphin in a big tankful of sharks.

    But I support Bernie until it’s time to vote for Hillary, and then I’ll vote for her. Especially over the privileged, entitled, loudmouthed suit on the other side.

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    • Yeah, I think it’s really important to keep Bernie in the race — but with less focus on winning the nomination and increased focus on creating a more progressive movement within the Democratic party. It’ll be a real shame if the enthusiasm Bernie’s created dies with his presidential bid.

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  3. Greg, you may get your wish regarding Sanders anyway. I see in the news that Hillary is courting the idea of asking him to be her VP. Wouldn’t THAT make a pair …

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      • The rumblings within the DNC are that because their race is so close, that it behoves Clinton to couple with him as her VP. The intent is that those two as a team could be enough to block a Trump win.

        Now I’m not too sure about their thinking, but think it would be interesting to watch. However, my fear is that in electing Democrats to the White House may result in the same old, same old with regard to more attention being given to special interest organizations at the expense of the American taxpayer than there would the will of the people.

        We shall see …

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      • I think so long as money remains a factor in elections, special interests will always trump the American public. The Republicans simply have different special interests.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s good to see the dirty underside of Bernie. Everyone has one. What’s of note in the critique you and the others have offered, is that it targets his character in the face of coming in second place (a very strong second place as well) not his positions and record. If you’re looking for purity in character and a sense of fair play in this election cycle, there is no one who has performed more admirably than Bernie.

    My support for Bernie remains, the old Bernie is the new Bernie inasmuch as such a thing is possible (everything changes). We all love a winner, Hillary will be the winner. But I suspect our support for Bernie is not waning, it’s more that we need to adjust ourselves to getting behind her.

    I think your point about Bernie staying on through the convention is important. The platform and Hillary’s campaign must be shaped by Bernie’s ideals, otherwise we’d be leaving a large chunk of the Democratic Party behind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the many problems of the electoral system in the U.S. is the size and length of the campaign. I suspect you’re right — or mostly right — that the old Bernie is the new Bernie. It’s just that now there’s also a sort of auxiliary Bernie comprised of campaign staff — managers and flacks and strategists — that hover around him like remora around a shark.

      I still like and support Bernie. I still like and support his ideas. I just don’t support his campaign anymore.

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      • Boy… if only we could create some kind of democracy/parliamentary hybrid in which we can limit the election “season” to six weeks. Or even three months. It’s really no wonder that people don’t want to participate in the political process… it is—in the eyes of the rest of the world—literally a joke.

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  5. A “revolution” can be a messy thing. Greg Fallis would do well to stick to his endorsement of Sanders’ policies, which he obviously approves of, and worry less about the nasty gymnastics needed to run for office in this country. Hillary is about bending the status quo to the left (same as Obama and Bill Clinton). Maybe that’s more realistic, but Sanders’ message has never wavered. There’s a reason Trump and Clinton are two of the most unpopular presidential candidates ever – a recent headline in the Los Angeles Times sums it up: “A Trump-Clinton general election poses a question to voters- Which one does America hate less?” Kind of sums it up. Unfortunately.

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    • I’ll agree there’s a reason Trump and Clinton are two of the most unpopular candidates ever — but they’re not unpopular for the same reason. One of the reasons Clinton is unpopular is that she’s been the subject of a quarter of a century of hostility, innuendo, outright lies, conspiracy theories, and sexist hate.

      I’ll also agree that Bernie’s fundamental message hasn’t wavered. But his campaign has taken on a tone I find objectionable and, not to put too fine a point on it, pathetic. I don’t equate Bernie the politician and person with Bernie the Campaign, but a candidate sets the tone for the campaign — and I can’t bring myself to support Bernie the Campaign any longer.

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  6. I think we’re all kind of in a dither this time around. Clearly there isn’t any candidate seeking the presidency that is generally liked, and this all may come down to making a choice for the lesser of all evils.

    I also agree that the American voting public is drawing weary of the campaign process, and shortening the time frame would most likely be beneficial to all. However, for as much as this is worth, the political establishment revels during the campaign process because it can derive more monetary support for their respective candidates; money that I think more likely ends up in the hands of the political establishment’s administration pockets.

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