Addressing One of the Biggest Issues with Some Bernie Sanders Supporters

After nearly a year of being called a “shill,” a “fake progressive,” “no better than a Republican,” a “corporate sellout” and/or being accused of being paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, I’ve reached my limit with this childish nonsense. So I thought I would finally say what I’ve been wanting to say for quite some time.



First, this does not go out to all Bernie Sanders supporters. I am well aware that the vast majority of those backing the Vermont senator are amazing, rational people who understand how much is at stake this election. The people I’m addressing fall in the 20-25 percent category of irrationally rabid Sanders supporters who act like they’re a member of some radical cult more than anything else.

These are the folks who make up the left-wing version of the tea party. Ideologues who buy into absurd conspiracies theories, ignore facts that don’t confirm their bias and reject any source of information that doesn’t tell them what they want to hear.

Though I can’t help but wonder: Where the were all these people in 2010 and 2014? 

I know where I was — busting my ass to do my best to try to defeat Republicans in those midterm elections so that President Obama would hopefully have a Congress that would work with him so we could get more progressive policies passed in this country. Despite what many voters seem to think, without a Congress willing to pass legislation, a president is essentially powerless to get a whole lot done. I can’t help but shake my head when I see some liberals complain about what this president didn’t do when he spent the vast majority of his presidency dealing with the most obstructive Congress in history because so many supposed “true progressives” decided that they only needed to show up to vote every four years.

I’m sorry folks, but President Obama didn’t have a magical wand he could wave to make all your unrealistic hopes and dreams come true — that’s not how government works.

Then just over 18 months ago Republicans all across this country, at all levels of government, ran away with huge victories during the 2014 midterms in an election that saw historically low voter turnout. That’s interesting considering how “angry” so many Sanders supporters claim to be about the “status quo” and “business as usual.”

Were issues like climate change, Wall Street reforms, campaign finance reform, health care, the minimum wage, income inequality, affordable college education and gay rights not that important just a few months ago, or were people just not “angry” about them back then — all of less than two years ago?

Again, I know what I was doing back then: spending many of my days writing articles like this one or this one practically begging liberals to get out and vote in that election.

But what do I know, right? I’m just a “fake progressive” and a “shill” — even though I’ve busted my ass and voted in every election and I’ve spent a good part of my life fighting to hopefully see Republicans lose as many elections as possible.

While I’ve apparently been “paid to support Clinton” during this election (I guess that applies to every single American who supports her), even though her “bi-weekly checks” never seem to come, I still spend most of my time fighting to save this country from Republican ignorance. Meanwhile, many of these “real progressives who demand change” seem to have had better things to do than actually, you know, voting to give this president a Congress that would help him bring about that change.

Oh, and for the record, it’s real mature to accuse people of being paid by a candidate to support them simply because they have a different opinion than you do.



So, please excuse me if I’m a tad cynical when it comes to the “angry passion” so many claim to have right now when I’m certain that good chunk of these folks (in particular the Bernie or bust crowd) didn’t bust their ass for progressive change in 2010 or 2014 when it wasn’t as “hip,” “cool” or “popular” to do so. Especially when many of these people have had the gall to tell those who’ve been fighting this battle for years (if not decades) that, because we prefer one candidate over another, we’re suddenly not up to their standards of what is or isn’t a “real progressive.”

A lot of this has reminded me of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement that was going to “change everything” when people were sick and tired of Wall Street corruption after the 2008 economic collapse. That ultimately fizzled and died out after it wasn’t quite as “cool” or “trendy” to make vague statements and demands without actually having a feasible plan to accomplish anything other than lecturing anyone and everyone who dared question anything that they were doing.

Though I’ll tell you this much, if a lot of these people were as passionate in 2010 and 2014 as they claim to be now, Republicans wouldn’t control Congress; the Affordable Care Act would have been a true universal health care law; the minimum wage would be raised; we would have raised taxes on the rich even more than we were able to; we’d be much further along combating climate change; and immigration reform would have been passed years ago.

Again, I’m not talking about all Sanders supporters. I know, without a doubt, that most of them are every bit as passionate about defeating Republicans as I am. And I’m sure there’s a chunk of pro-Hillary folks who didn’t vote in those midterm elections, either. But you’re not seeing much rhetoric from Clinton supporters expressing their belief that they would rather see Trump win than Bernie. While I’m sure there are a few out there saying that, most Clinton supporters (and I know a lot of them) seem to agree that defeating Republicans this November is the top priority.

And can we stop pretending like 2016 is something unique? In 2008, President Obama was actually more popular than Sanders is now, backed by the “youth vote” and was the little known senator who took on the overwhelming favorite. The voter turnout then, with a smaller population, was higher than it’s been during this primary — with the exact same “rigged” primary rules. The only difference is, he won.

Like I’ve pointed out before, because he wasn’t able to fulfill some of the unrealistic expectations of these ideologues, they turned on him — just like they would turn on Bernie Sanders once they realized practically nothing he ran on was ever going to make it through Congress. That’s the downside to being supported by a good chunk of people who don’t follow government all that much. After the election, because they don’t know how Congress works, they often tend to think that a president has much more power than they really do and get angry when a lot of these bold promises made during these campaigns never come true.

However, that’s an issue that’s found on both the left and the right.

So, what’s the “moral” of this story?

I would say, if there is one, it’s that unless you’re out there fighting nearly every day, every year and every election to bring about the change you claim to want to bring, you probably shouldn’t go around judging and attacking some of those who do simply because they have a different opinion than you do. I still don’t get what’s “progressive” and “open-minded” about attacking fellow liberals and progressives who simply disagree with you on a handful of things. Again, that’s how tea party conservatives act — I thought “liberals” were better than that?

What happens this election is anyone’s guess, but my plan hasn’t changed a bit. From the beginning my goal has always been to fight for Democrats and do my best to make sure Republicans lose as many elections as possible — and that’s not going to change. That’s not to say the Democratic party is perfect by any means, but it’s a hell of a lot more sane than today’s Republican party. Real progressive change on many issues will only come once enough Republicans are removed from power all across the country.

I just hope once the primary is over and emotions settle that enough people on the left realize how dangerous it is to let someone like Donald Trump win the presidency, and we all unite together to make damn sure that doesn’t happen and Democrats reclaim some power back in Congress.




Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.

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  • john

    Allen perhaps you’re not just another one of the countless paid mouthpieces for the Clinton machine (though sometimes hard to believe) but you do seem to fall into the exact deluded mindset which seems to have blinded the reason and objectivity of those supporters. In short, you seem to simply breeze over the fact (if you’ve even noticed it at all to date) that most working people have to take time out of their daily routine of life in order to stand in line for HOURS in order to get to exercise their right to vote. Which, of course, they’re more than willing to do whenever they’ve been given an option whom they feel genuinely furthers their deeply held opinions and beliefs. However, when it’s just one more political windbag which has been thrust in their face? Well they may forgo upsetting their daily routine or taking on the heavy additional burdens of standing in line for HOURS to cast their vote for someone who is barely distinguishable (to them) from those running against that forced choice. (and thus you, Hillary and all those just like you are utterly dumbfounded that nobody seemed to show up and vote at the last midterm election). Look REALITY is simply screaming now in your faces!!! (but you’ll each just choose not to hear it ONCE AGAIN) Sanders (just like Trump unfortunately) are the types of candidates who inspire people. They are the types of candidates that people WILL upset their daily routine and simply cannot wait to stand in line FOR HOURS in order to get to cast their votes for. Hillary simply is not that type of Candidate yet you simply don’t want to hear that. As such, when she loses come November?? Well it won’t have a single thing to do with YOU, nor Hillary nor Barbara Boxer nor Diane Feinstein nor Debbie Wasserman nor any others JUST LIKE YOU!! It will, of course, be the fault of those Fair-weather Liberals you seem to have sooooooo much to say about here. (for THAT is YOUR REALITY)

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  • john

    Allen perhaps you’re not just another one of the countless paid mouthpieces for the Clinton machine (though sometimes hard to believe) but you do seem to fall into the exact deluded mindset which seems to have blinded the reason and objectivity of those supporters. In short, you seem to simply breeze over the fact (if you’ve even noticed it at all to date) that most working people have to take time out of their daily routine of life in order to stand in line for HOURS in order to get to exercise their right to vote. Which, of course, they’re more than willing to do whenever they’ve been given an option whom they feel genuinely furthers their deeply held opinions and beliefs. However, when it’s just one more political windbag which has been thrust in their face? Well they may forgo upsetting their daily routine or taking on the heavy additional burdens of standing in line for HOURS to cast their vote for someone who is barely distinguishable (to them) from those running against that forced choice. (and thus you, Hillary and all those just like you are utterly dumbfounded that nobody seemed to show up and vote at the last midterm election). Look REALITY is simply screaming now in your faces!!! (but you’ll each just choose not to hear it ONCE AGAIN) Sanders (just like Trump unfortunately) are the types of candidates who inspire people. They are the types of candidates that people WILL upset their daily routine and simply cannot wait to stand in line FOR HOURS in order to get to cast their votes for. Hillary simply is not that type of Candidate yet you simply don’t want to hear that. As such, when she loses come November?? Well it won’t have a single thing to do with YOU, nor Hillary nor Barbara Boxer nor Diane Feinstein nor Debbie Wasserman nor any others JUST LIKE YOU!! It will, of course, be the fault of those Fair-weather Liberals you seem to have sooooooo much to say about here. (for THAT is YOUR REALITY)

  • alwaysthink

    Forget Bernie winning CA. Last weekend Bernie traveled to towns with lots of Latino voters. But those who showed up were the usual bunch of white kids and men that form his base. Without the Latino vote he can’t win. And he topped off his weekend swing with a rally in Oakland. Once again it turned out to be a bunch of white people singing “We Shall Overcome”, that has really ticked off Black Twitter. And he’s lost the Gay vote too. There is not a single site for Bernie phone banking in WeHo and HRC supporters have booked the biggest bar/club for a Hillary Victory Party on June 7.

    • john

      Ok, let’s all do this. Why don’t we just EXPAND always think and Allen and Hillary and Wasserman and Feinstein and all others COMPLETE FANTASY! (and let’s see how far that gets us come November). Let’s actually PRETEND that the DNC hadn’t already decided BEFORE HAND who their nominee was going to be. Let’s simply PRETEND that all the Super Delegates supporting Hillary now were not actually pledged BEFORE Sanders even entered the race. Let’s JUST ACT LIKE most of the Democratic voters (who we’ll depend upon in November) are not just sheep following a herd just like the Republicans which we rail against sooooo vehemently. Lets PRETEND that all of this initial set up to make Hillary the Democratic nominee never really influenced any of our OWN SHEEP and that is how she’s even in the race at present. That way we can then categorically deny that every, single, solitary rational indicator available from objective observation is not simply SCREAMING TO US ALL that Sanders is the Candidate independent minds and intelligent non-following sheep want to vote for!!! Ok, well we’ve now done that! SO WHEN WE LOSE COME NOVEMBER by then we should all be really well versed at JUST PRETENDING so it is certainly not going to be OUR FAULT. Its going to be friggin THERE’S (let me get my pointing finger ready now) hahahahaha