Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Sound And Fury Of a BernieBro

There's been a lot to write about online about the more vocal defenders of the Bernie Sanders campaign, AKA the "BernieBro". (points of fact: not all of them are bros, and not all of them are named Bernie) Especially after this New York primary when Hillary thumped Bernie.

The Twitterverse and Facebook newsfeeds are full of the angry, adamant, and argumentative progressive followers who are fully backing the Senator from Vermont. Some of them are standing with him because he's pushing for breaking up the Big Banks, some of them are standing with him because he's arguing for universal health care, some of them are in love with how Bernie can summon birds to his will.

It seems though, from the ones I see on my feeds, far too many of those BernieBros are simply hating on Hillary.

It ties into that Hathos that revolves around her. The level of mistrust, of which barely a quarter of it - her secretive nature - is justified. The fact she has ties to the Wall Street and major corporate entities that Sanders is railing against. The - in my opinion wrongheaded - view of her as a drag on the Democratic ticket. That she is not sufficiently Liberal enough.

We've had this problem before, and I've seen it happen down here in Florida. Twice. A sizable faction of Democratic voters turning away from their own candidates for office because of that "questionable" Centrism. Never mind the facts that Betty Sink and Charlie Crist were experienced pols: they just weren't the perfect progressive paragons to save us all. And as a result, we've ended up with two terms of one of the worst governors of modern times: Rick "No Ethics" Scott.

And yet, here we are, lessons unlearned: a good portion of Sanders' supporters are online insisting that they won't vote for Hillary if she wins the party's nomination. Like Susan Sarandon, they've gotten it into their heads that there's no real difference between Hillary and a Republican candidate, and that it might be "better" to let the Republicans get back in charge to wreck things all over again (if only to spark the One True Revolution of Absolute Utopian Progressivism).

It's frustrating as hell around here. And it horrifies me to see it happening in the media for an election that's really going to matter. Because 2016 does matter: this is an election where Obama's entire legacy is on the line, where key political reforms and efforts need protection from the possibility of a Republican takeover of the White House to grant them the ability to take us back to the Dark Age of the Dubya years.

But I need to pay attention to other things, instead of the noise chambers of the Intertubes.

Despite all the wailing and rending of prayer vests and pulling of hair, the facts are that a very large set of Democratic voters are just happy with how things are going this primary season. If we go back to that Atlantic article about Sarandon's hope for revolution, the reality is that the voters are shiny and chrome:

For example, take a Quinnipiac poll released last week. In that poll, 78 percent of Democrats said they had a favorable view of Sanders. But 80 percent had a favorable view of Clinton. Now, more had an unfavorable view of Clinton than of Sanders—15 to 9—but that doesn’t suggest there’s a huge groundswell of anti-Clinton Democrats.
The latest CBS News/New York Times poll suggests something similar. There’s a definite enthusiasm gap between Clinton and Sanders. Forty percent of Democrats said they were “enthusiastic” about a Sanders candidacy, versus just 34 percent who felt the same way about Clinton. But add in the number who say they’d be satisfied with Clinton and the gap shrinks to almost nothing: 81 percent would be enthusiastic or satisfied with Sanders, while 79 percent feel the same way about Clinton...

Those are good numbers, and shows that for all the open and public hostility a lot of voters are actually level-headed about this election cycle. Not everybody is screaming about things. Not everybody, after all, is on Twitter or Facebook (they're on PornHub instead... well, BLOCKED in North Carolina anyway).

One thing keeping Democrats - and a lot of Moderates - grinning from ear to ear is the realization the Republicans are gonna wake up post-convention to either a Trump or a Cruz. Per MisterMix at Balloon Juice:

Like most New York Democrats, I’m perfectly happy with the choices, have no real concerns about the party falling apart, and I’m enjoying watching the Republicans crumble. I like the fact that we have a contest that gets us free media coverage – why should that f-cker Trump get all of the attention? As far as I’m concerned, the minor dust-ups on the Democratic side are nothing like the foundation-shaking disaster we’re witnessing on the Republican side...
...Yeah, there’s some nastiness, but remember that Republicans are fighting over how many hard-working immigrants to throw out of the country, how best to deny women abortions and birth control, and how to make sure that millions of people lose insurance they gained through Obamacare.
Keep that in mind when worrying about what some dumb Bernie Bro said on f-cking Twitter.

Happy Thoughts, People.

Conclusion: The BernieBro is a lot like the Moral Majority, a very loud and very over-hyped minority. It's up to the rest of us to, know you, let them vent a little when the time comes and the inevitable happens. But then we gotta keep them focused on the Big Game: getting the DAMN OUT VOTE for the entire Democratic ticket. 

YOU BernieBros that seem to make up about 15 percent of the Hater Club don't wanna vote for Hillary? Fine. But PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET THE VOTE OUT FOR THE REST OF THE BALLOT. We need votes for getting the Democrats back in control of the Senate so we can seat Garland and future SCOTUS nominees to the bench. We need votes for taking the Republicans down a notch or twelve in the US House, and maybe even breaking their gerrymandered control of the House with a large enough turnout by enthusiastic, ENERGIZED voters.

All those elections matter in some ways more than the election for the President. As long as there's a solid, respectable, intelligent candidate in either Hillary OR Bernie for the White House that leans either Centrist or Leftist, as long as it's a candidate that will honestly build on the work Obama has done rather than knock it all down out of spite or fear, as long as it's a candidate we know will not blow up the nation and the planet the way Trump or Cruz will, we've got something to VOTE FOR.

Voting for Bernie or Hillary doesn't need any sound or fury. It needs focus, and it needs each one of us showing up this November to get it done.

No comments: