Sanders Supporters: Emotional Investment and Political Reasoning
Edit: Guys, I know Bernie Sanders is an Independent. He is, however, running as a Democrat on the Democratic ticket in the Democratic primaries for the Democratic nomination. So please, quit screaming at me that he’s an INDEPENDENT. I know this. But, he is for a fact running on the DEMOCRATIC ticket; which is why this article is completely focused on DEMOCRATS that like Bernie who will refuse to vote for Clinton in the general.
Whenever I happen to post something that’s anti-Hillary Clinton and pro-Bernie Sanders — whether it be on my social media or my website — I get a lot of feedback that I don’t necessarily expect from Hillary Clinton supporters that are not only online but in person as well.
Of course, there is that group of die-hard Hillary “hecklers”, as I like to call them, who “donate $2 to Hillary Clinton for every ‘BS troll’ that pop up on their timeline” and type in caps when they don’t get their way. This probably makes up about twenty percent of the interaction I’ve had with Clinton supporters. As for the other 80%? Critical feedback and interesting conversation.
Now don’t get me wrong: both sides have a horrendous group of the “I hate you because I don’t understand politics at all” supporters. They’re usually the die-hard, obsessive fans — much like the Hillary hecklers and the Bernie bros. But…what’s the difference between the overall abundance of supporters as individual groups?
Most Clinton supporters that I meet or interact with online have a mentality of “I understand your point, and I agree with X, Y, and Z” followed up with “Here’s my perspective and thoughts on the subject!” That’s something called civility. Formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech, if you’re not familiar with how social communication tends to work.
Now, I’m a Bernie Sanders supporter — if that’s not obvious — yet I still get positive contact and correspondence from the Clinton fan-base whenever I post my opinions and thoughts towards the former Secretary of State and First Lady. From what the Internet, with sources such as Reddit, want you to believe is that Clinton supporters are brain dead and ignorant towards the “socialism” part of “Democratic socialism”. From over a years’ worth of commenting on both the Sanders and Clinton campaigns, this is not the case.
Whenever I happen to post something that’s anti-Bernie and seemingly pro-Hillary, however, like my recent DEMOCRATS, WE NEED TO UNITE post, I get a different reaction. 90% of Bernie Sanders supporters go ape shit mad and attack me whenever I post anything that may be slander towards my own candidate. I had people telling me the article was “nonsense”, “retarded”, “worthless”, “incorrect”, “a terrible judgement”, and even — get this! — “Sanders Sacrilege”. Not a single Bernie Sanders supporter offered critical feedback or even a debate worth having.
Bernie Sanders, as much as I absolutely support his campaign, is mostly backed by younger voters — people who are not quite too sure how the fuck politics work. I don’t mean this on a negative sense as “Sanders is wrong”, but that his backers — the so-called “Bros” of the campaign trail — manage to forget how to interact properly within their own society. It’s as if the promise of political revolution completely demolished their voice for political reason!
Paul Krugman, a brilliant economist who has openly said that he likes Bernie and his ideas but believes the way he’s pushing them forward isn’t the best way forward, has been completely decimated by Bernie Sanders supporters. “A shill”, “a sellout”, “a mindless drone working for the Clinton campaign”, “untrustworthy source”…I’m sorry but if a man who’s literally known for his place in the economic field who has written AP ECONOMICS TEXTBOOKS comes out and says “hey, I like the idea but the plan needs some work” — why would you discredit it?
Many Sanders supporters are the left’s equivalent to Donald J. Trump. We don’t like to admit this, but it’s true. While the platforms are completely different — one based on love and the other based on hate, if you will — the supporters tend to have the same stubborn mindset towards what they want and what’s going to happen. The “Bernie or No Bernie” strategy that will force many of the Sanders supporters from the general election will ultimately destroy the Democratic unification from the ground up. Just as Trump’s supporters who threaten to cast him in as an independent would ultimately destroy the last remaining factions of the Republican Party.
These die-hard Sanders supporters make up a larger percentage of Bernie’s entire vote than the die-hard Clinton supporters do over on their respective side. That’s why we see more ignorance and hotheaded behavior within the campaign that preaches love and compassion. This is not Bernie Sanders fault, despite what Bill and Hillary Clinton have tried saying in the past. Unlike Donald Trump, Sanders hasn’t literally been force feeding xenophobia and hatred into his political base. Bernie Sanders has this problem because, unfortunately, many of his followers — who will one day be fantastic progressives that grow up in sense towards political and social behavior — are simply just that. Followers.
And what do followers have? Emotional attachment. It’s like whenever someone makes an anti-Bernie comment — even if the comment really isn’t even anti-Bernie so much as it is pro-Hillary — the die-hard Sanders followers get incredibly angry. Frothing at the mouth angry, even. You get excommunicated from the bulk of their community (are we really going to describe a post about democratic unification as SANDERS SACRILEGE????) and get hundreds and hundreds of hate comments on social media (of which you either delete [Instagram] or ignore [Twitter] because it’s really not worth it) even though the article itself only got fifty views that day?
That says something, doesn’t it?! These people — who didn’t even click the damn article! — are so emotionally attached and overall disturbed by anything that even looks anti-Bernie that they will jump to the defense of their lord and savior; even though they know nearly nothing about his campaign and are simply attracted to the memes that have surfaced around the internet.
These people aren’t true Sanders followers. They aren’t politically responsive (or else they would fucking vote in the primaries or the general election). They’re attracted, in love with even, the cultural impact that the Sanders campaign has left on the depths of the Internet. They think that clicking “BERNIE” on a Twitter poll will let him win everything. They think that anyone who’s against Bernie Sanders is a mindless drone of the establishment and “$hillary Clinton”.
I have two words for these people: wake up.
I’m a Sanders supporter, even before he informally announced his campaign in April 2015 I knew I would be supporting him (or any progressive that happened to jump in the race). But if he doesn’t win? Welcome to the world of activist and progressive politics — a lot of heartbreak with a lot of looking forward. I have more political reasoning and less emotional investment. Because I know, regardless of which Democrat wins the nomination, we’re setting ourselves up for a progressive movement within the next few years.
The primaries are not over yet. Until the last vote on the last ballot in the last county in the last state is counted, I’m Feeling the Bern. But if he happens to lose? You better grow up, wake up, and support whoever wins the nomination. Or else you can say hello to Donald Trump in the White House.