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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 11/5/15

Why Are Bernie Sanders Fans So Angry?

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Message Michael Blecher

Bernie Sanders - Portrait
Bernie Sanders - Portrait
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Over and over again, I have read from liberal pundits that Bernie Sanders fans are incredibly angry people that insult those that write articles that either support Hillary Clinton or condemn Bernie Sanders. Many in the Sanders camp have even been accused of being conspiracy theorists, claiming the corporate media was lying when it declared Hillary Clinton the winner of the first debate not Bernie Sanders. Articles like this

one and this one and others mock Sanders and his supporters for displaying such dogma and anger. Do I support nasty trolling or angry supporters? No, I do not. But can anyone really blame them? Would it be so wrong to consider conspiracy theories when the Intercept reported the role the media plays in contributing to Hillary Clinton's campaign? Would it be so wrong to think the fix is in when Larry Lessig was not only disallowed to take part in the first debate for the most incomprehensible reasons but is now dropping out of the race because the Democratic Party has decided to conveniently change the rules for the second debate. The general consultant for Lessig, who I should remind you, has worked on many political campaigns before, had this to say about the party.

We all know that Lessig could have hurt the Clintons by discussing campaign finance reform and her contributors. Should we not think the game is rigged when one of the candidates running has accused the DNC of limiting the number of debates to 6 (even more concerning is the fact they're scheduled on dates and times where few viewers will watch) to make the nomination easier for Hillary Clinton? Or should we bring up the fact one of the Democratic National Committee vice chairs, Tulsi Gabbard, has accused the Democratic Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz of ruling with an iron fist by urging her not to attend the debate simply because Gabbard went on MSNBC and declared her support for having more debates?

It should be no surprise that Wasserman Schultz also served as one of Clinton's national campaign co-chairs when Clinton ran in 2008. One of the most respected reporters, John Heilemann, could not even find a member of the party that would defend Wasserman Schultz. In fact, most didn't have the kindest things to say about her.

What was surprising was how little coverage there was to this story. I found it fascinating how much time liberal pundits like Rachel Maddow spent mocking the RNC for scheduling two debates each time (i.e., one that consists of the more "popular candidates" based on polling and one that has the lesser known candidates) yet doesn't seem inclined to mention the fact the Democrats are hypocritically engaging in similar shenanigans. Should we mention the fact no one in the mainstream media has criticized the overwhelming amount of superdelegates that have pledged their support for Clinton, months before even the first ballot has been cast? Is that the way we want the primaries to be set up where these superdelegates could technically elect Hillary as the nominee, even if she doesn't receive the majority of votes in the primary? Should we question the fact that Progressives such as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sherrod Brown have decided to endorse Hillary Clinton, even though we all know their vision is much more aligned with Bernie Sanders' platform?

Does anyone find it interesting how little coverage has been devoted to Bernie Sanders. Or how about the amount of headlines devoted to declaring he is unelectable or nothing more than a leftist version of Donald Trump? Or articles that condescendingly state that Bernie Sanders isn't actually running to win the election. I should also note that the idea that he is unelectable persists despite the fact that the only data any of the articles rely on is one Gallup poll showing Americans' reluctance to vote for a self-identified socialist. Even though I have written previously, debunking this argument, and I can point to another Gallup poll that would suggest Hillary Clinton, (and any Democrat for that matter) is unelectable too, the misconception lives on.

I am ashamed to admit it but there are very few articles about Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton that I haven't read since the election cycle has begun. I have also seen most of their national interviews. It has become an unhealthy obsession. Nevertheless, I have been overwhelmed, if not disturbed by how few articles have called Hillary Clinton out for the various policies she and/or her husband once endorsed that are in opposition to what the Left stands for. What's even more troubling is this lack of opposition is not just on display in the New York Times but you won't find much criticism of the Clintons on more liberal websites like Huffington Post, Salon or the Daily Kos either.

I have yet to see anyone really on the Left call her out for her support of military intervention in Libya or the role Sidney Blumenthal (a person that the Obama administration detested so much, they didn't allow him to work in the state department) in advising her on foreign policy.

Will any interviewer ask about her donors and how she can regulate certain industries when they are also some of her biggest contributors? Will anyone ask her why it took her so long to denounce contributions from companies involved in private prisons or why it took her so long to speak out about the Ferguson protests? Or will anyone wonder how Hillary Clinton had the audacity to claim DOMA was some kind of defensive act and lesser of two evils on the Rachel Maddow show? Would anyone have called her out on such a claim if Bernie Sanders didn't rightfully criticize her for this revisionist narrative?

What about our take on the fact the Clinton camp is calling out Bernie Sanders for being sexist? Should we not only overlook the fact that these claims lack any merit but also ignore the fact the Clintons have yet to take any responsibility for the racist undertones that her campaign displayed when she ran against Obama in 2008?

The saddest thing about the claims the Clinton camp is making about Bernie Sanders is it confirms that it wasn't just Mark Penn that embraced such dirty campaigning in 08, it's actually something the Clintons seem to fully embrace. From James Carville calling Bill Richardson Judas in 2008 to Clinton's campaign sharing photos of Obama dressed as a Somali elder, the Clinton camp has no shame.

I guess the one consistency the Clinton camp has always displayed is they will do anything to get elected, even if that requires engaging in Lee Atwater-like tactics. I wonder if anyone will ever point out the irony that Hillary Clinton has the nerve to accuse Bernie Sanders of sexism when her own husband has been accused of sexual misconduct on numerous occasions. Even more despicable, they are now accusing Bernie Sanders of being a racist. I'm pretty sure Hillary Clinton lost all moral authority to accuse anyone of disrespecting women or engaging in racist rhetoric.

Should we be okay with the fact the mainstream media let's Hillary Clinton get away with political rhetoric time and time again without ever having to back up her claims? For instance, Secretary Clinton claimed at the debate that she is a Progressive but a Progressive that can get stuff done. Do such claims have any merit though? Absolutely not. The sad truth is when we look at the kind of legislation that each candidate has passed while in Congress, and what they have achieved in their lifetimes, Bernie Sanders wins again.

Even more fascinating is how no one in the mainstream media has yet to ask Hillary Clinton to explain why she has made gun control such a priority in this election yet in 2008, she ran to the right of Obama on gun control? I support gun control but the sad truth is Hillary Clinton's political rhetoric and use of hyperboles regarding gun control is nothing more than a political ploy to run to the Left of Bernie Sanders. In fact, such rhetoric may not only be futile but it may actually hurt our chances of ever passing gun control legislation.

So maybe, instead of dismissing all of Bernie Sanders fans as being angry people, we need to start asking why so many of them are? Maybe it's because it wasn't the Republicans that solely got us into unjustified wars, it was newspapers like the New York Times helping lead the charge. Wages are not improving, Wall Street continues to engage in highly unethical and reckless behavior and you don't have to do much research to understand why many on the Left feel Obama betrayed them. The sad truth is for too long, Democrats have betrayed the Progressives that have voted them in and we are fed up. Instead of expanding government, Bill Clinton shrunk it through welfare reform. Bill Clinton even considered privatizing social security. Many in labor should also feel betrayed by the Democratic Party as they endorsed NAFTA and now TPP.

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Michael Blecher was working as a research assistant at several psychology labs before becoming a political activist. He canvassed in six different states for the Bernie Sanders' campaign, and his activism has been covered in The Village Voice (more...)

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