Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I Didn't Lose The Bern, The Bern Lost Me

This year has been a first in my life as a voter. I am going to be withdrawing support from a candidate I was once very excited about due to the actions of his supporters. Since my one little vote will never sway an election, I always vote with my conscience, since that's how I'm able to sleep at night.  For a long time, despite my doubts about his capability of wielding the power of the presidency, my conscience was with Bernie Sanders. I consider myself to be a social democrat and his program to temper the excesses of capitalism and use the state to improve the lives of its citizens by effectively redistributing wealth was exactly what I'd been waiting to hear from the Democratic Party.

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.


Terry said...

You're not alone, there. I'm sure there are a great many left-leaning voters who wish the BernBros would just grow the fuck up, goddammit. We've already seen where this kind of idiocy gets us, thanks to Mr. Nader's blind followers in 2000. Sure, I'd like nothing better than for this country to take a sharp turn to the left - bring on national health care, free college, all of that! Having a tantrum about it isn't going to make it so.

Quite the cliff-hanger we've got going here, innit?

Werner Herzog's Bear said...

Exactly. To really get those goals moving means a lot of hard work over a long period of time. The Democratic Party needs to be changed from the bottom up. Showing up every four years to vote for someone in the primary won't cut it.

Terry said...

The Dems around here don't make it easy and accessible, in my opinion. I'm a registered Independent, which meant I didn't have the option to vote for the Pres. candidate in the primary (which I *think* is just kind of a back-up check with the voters after the caucus already determined who the local party will officially support) but OTOH I haven't been real avid about looking for meetings, etc. District 2 tends Democrat in the big elections; and Omaha has traditionally kind of been Democrat in the admin areas, but regardless, they're all pretty conservative and it's hard to tell who's got the City Hall reins between one Mayoral Admin and the next. But you're right, everybody needs to pay closer attention to the local elections. I *did* do a little homework about the down-ticket choices this time. I feel guilty, like it's my fault things have come to this ugly pass LOL.