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.
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.