Now my conscience doesn't feel so clear, and it has little to do with Hillary Clinton, whom I mostly liked then and now (while still maintaining a healthy skepticism.) The behavior of Sanders and his supporters is exposing some major problems with certain sectors of the left. Early on I dismissed the "Bernie Bro" as an invention, but my time online has shown me that Sanders supporters tend to be excessive in their unwillingness to hear criticism of their candidate and aggressive in their treatment of others. Whenever he fails at the polls, or fails to capture the votes of crucial parts of the Democratic coalition (African Americans in particular), there's always an excuse or a conspiracy theory.
This week, with the violent displays at the Nevada Democratic state convention, things have gotten much uglier. I am also hearing talk of major disruptions at the party convention in Philly this summer by Bernie supporters. This is happening despite the fact that he has no real way to win the nomination, and Donald Trump has emerged as the Republican nominee. The stakes of this kind of stuff are thus very high.
I think I have discovered the conceit that lies at the base of all of this. Many Sanders supporters see him as the living and breathing embodiment of the popular will. This means that all who oppose or disagree with him are the forces of corporate evil or dupes. This explains the friend on Facebook who compared HRC to Reagan, as if the architect of the first real go at a national health insurance program was the equivalent of the man who railed against "socialized medicine."
Furthermore, if Sanders is indeed the embodiment of the popular will, the only explanation for his defeat must be corruption and treachery. Hence the media gets blamed, or super delegates, or Democratic Party chicanery.
OK, Sandroids, you finally wore me down. I actually have detected a conspiracy! On random Tuesdays, Democratic Party voters are congregating scattered locations and going into covered booths where no one can see what they're doing. I've discovered that they are marking ballots that are kept secret, and that they are conspiracy to mark those ballots for Hillary Clinton. What's more, a majority of the Democrats actually appear to be in on it! How treacherous!
In all seriousness, it is hard for me to make common cause with people who treat politics like a religious cult. My days of dogma are long gone. When the primaries finally come here to New Jersey in June, I will not be so sure who to pull the lever for. Sanders supporters have themselves to thank for that.