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Joseph Kaminski

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November 21, 2019

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.

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15 Responses “Sanders Supporters: Emotional Investment and Political Reasoning”

  1. March 17, 2016 at 8:13 am

    Great article, well thought-out. As a Hillary supporter, I appreciate your fair approach to the situation. I also cringe knowing the backlash that is about to sweep over you like a tsunami. Hang in there.

  2. March 17, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    I echo what Joshua said. This is a very reasoned approach, but unfortunately “reason” doesn’t exist in the realm of a lot of hard-core Berniebros.

    The dynamic on display here is very similar to the supporters of Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012 (especially 2012). While a core of Paul’s supporters were committed to his far-right-wing libertarian ideology, a significant number were not, but they were emotionally invested in him because he was an “outsider” or would “change things.” I remember once on Twitter I posted a single jocular tweet making fun of Ron Paul. It got RT’d by a Paul supporter, and for the next 26 hours–literally, I’m not exaggerating–I got dozens of ferociously angry @ replies, some threatening bodily harm, others urging Ron Paul to sue me for slander, etc. It was really a bizarre and sobering display. Unfortunately this effect is in evidence when it comes to many of Bernie Sanders’s people. I like a lot of what Bernie says, but I feel he’s an unsuitable candidate for a number of reasons, but those reasons are exactly that–reasons which I feel I can explain civilly and rationally. That’s where our politics should be, and I wish more people agreed with you that that’s where they should be.

    • March 17, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Thank you very much, Sean!

      I hate that ignorance and emotional attachment to political personas play such a huge role in our voting process. The fact that people threatened you multiple times shows just how ignorant they actually are.

  3. Christopher Jackson
    March 17, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    You completely miss the point though. I will never “unite with the Democratic party”. I am NOT a democrat! I am an independent (an ANTI-partisan you might even say) who supports the vision of Bernie Sanders, and I am viscerally opposed to the corruption and political scheming of both Hillary Clinton and the DNC.

    You know why we Sanders supporters are so fired up? Because from the DNC, to the Superdelegates, to the media, to in many cases the act of voting itself, there is an undeniable attempt to RIG the election against Bernie Sanders.

    I will never support Hillary Clinton, nor will I support any other war mongering, bought and paid for politician. Please kindly refrain from your intellect insulting narratives about how Sanders supporters are too emotional and if we were political realists, we’d agree to unite behind Hillary. That is nothing but ridiculous propaganda, and if you’re a true Sanders supporter, then you already know that to be true.

    • March 17, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      In a society dominated by two parties; at least now when the delegates are in control of Republicans and Democrats, a vote against the main two parties will end up throwing the vote out of our hands and into the Senate — which is Republican dominated.

      You’re an independent. Good for you! That is specifically why the article linked multiple times through this one (and referenced more than an abundance of times) is specifically titled “DEMOCRATS, we need to unite’ and not ‘INDEPENDENTS, vote Democrat.”

      I am specifically targeting those Democrats who will not vote. The “Bernie Bros” who are WITHIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. Therefore, you are not the subjective person of this article (or its predecessor). Please kindly refrain from daring to tell me how to run my own personal website and what not to post.

      Have a fantastic day.

      • Christopher Jackson
        March 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm

        Actually the article (THIS article) is titled “Sanders Supporters: Emotional Investment and Political Reasoning” and it concludes with “You better grow up, wake up, and support whoever wins the nomination.”.

        Make your website private and password protected if you don’t want feedback. Otherwise, deal with the fact that when you post content that insults the maturity and intelligence of a MASSIVE sect of the population, that there will be someone like me right there to fight back against this sort of holier than thou propaganda piece.

        • March 17, 2016 at 12:58 pm

          I completely enjoy feedback! I hope that didn’t come off as negative.

          The article that this post is a direct successor to (I reworded that so it makes more sense in my original response) is the Democrats Unite one. I do heavily enjoy you have an opinion, don’t get me wrong. Independents play a huge, huge role in our modern politics.

          But I’m not targeting independents here whatsoever. It’s the “Bernie bro” base within the progressive Democratic wing of the actual party. Third party, non-affiliated, and Independent voters will do as they please in the general, and that is definitely expected. My target audience is towards Sanders supporters that are registered Democrats, and I am incredibly sorry if that target audience was misrepresented or mis-written in this article.

          I’ll continue posting towards that audience as well, and I’ll continue what “narrative” I desire on this site. Independents are a completely different voting base when it comes to Bernie Sanders. I attempted to focus on the progressive Democrats and the younger just-turned Democrats.

          I did mean that last part, though. Do have a nice day!

    • March 17, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      It’s fascinating the degree to which this comment by a Sanders supporter illustrates exactly the effect Joe identifies in his article. It’s purely an appeal to emotion, not to reason. That’s also what Donald Trump is doing: trying to get people to vote based on emotion, not reason. Political democracy is a system built upon reason. All of the philosophical underpinnings of the Constitution and those who wrote it bear this out–they were, after all, motivated by the Enlightenment, which stressed reason over emotion. I think the point Joe is making is that we should base our voting decisions on what’s rational, not on what satisfies our emotions. Some of Sanders’ more hard-core supporters seem not to perceive (or to value) this basic precept on how the system works.

      • Christopher Jackson
        March 17, 2016 at 1:22 pm

        You provided zero examples of how my comments appeal strictly to emotion and stray far from reason. I consider my take to be a very reasoned take. I guess I’ll let those who read this string of comments determine for themselves what they consider to be reasonable.

  4. Christopher Jackson
    March 17, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    My hope is that the target of your article, as you explained it, will realize that they do not have to capitulate to the Democratic party when the party has ceased to represent their values. So long as the two party system has a stranglehold on American politics, there can be no real progressive movement.

    I urge everyone reading this to consider whether uniting blue represents your values. Do not be held hostage by a party that’s only appeal is “we’re the less bad option.” That leads to stagnation, not political revolution.

    Stay strong Berners. The establishment and it’s lackies will try every psychological trick in the book to break you down and force you to “get in line”. It’s up to us to not give up and never give in.

    • March 17, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      I agree with you. However, as long as these super delegates and electoral votes stay in place (we can work hard to get rid of them), then a massive independent vote might manage to throw the vote to a party controlled senate.

      I agree with you. Completely, at that. The bipartisan stronghold is ruining American politics through corruption and unfortunate coasting in government.

      I do thank you for your comments. We have the same concept for the two party system (or at least how it is set up now): I just don’t think we agree on when that could break through.

      I don’t wish to see history repeat itself. Not when an aspect like Trump could benefit from it. I still Feel The Bern! My political ideology closely relates to that of the Green Party and Jill Stein alongside the Independent Bernie Sanders. I voted for him in my home state’s primary. Maybe it’s pessimism, maybe it’s the fear of handing the election over to a man like Donald J. Trump.

      Vote for who you wish.

      • Christopher Jackson
        March 17, 2016 at 1:25 pm

        Thank you Joseph. I can definitely appreciate that. I appreciate you engaging with me in a rational discussion about this.

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