During a Sunday morning interview with ABC’s Martha Raddatz, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders addressed a growing criticism by some (myself included) that a decent chunk of his supporters are becoming hostile, extremely aggressive and every bit as anti-Hillary Clinton as Republicans. Apparently, Bernie doesn’t think his supporters are anti-Clinton – they’re just pro-Sanders.
“I think the gains that we are seeing, and the enthusiasm and the huge crowds that we are seeing, this is not anti-Hillary Clinton,” Sanders said. “This is pro-Bernie Sanders and pro a message that says enough is enough. This country and our government belong to all of us, not just a handful of very wealthy people.”
First, that is probably true for many, and I’m certain that nearly all of his supporters love his message. Heck, most Clinton supporters I know like his message, they just doubt his ability to win the general election. But for him to deny that there’s a fairly sizable percentage of his supporters who are rabidly anti-Clinton is ridiculous. Perhaps they’re just the vocal minority, but I’m getting more and more messages from people saying that they no longer even comment on many political posts because if they dare say anything remotely pro-Clinton, they’re relentlessly attacked by Sanders supporters.
In fact, even in the comments section of a couple of articles I came across that covered his comments, his supporters seemed more than eager to prove him wrong. Here are a few examples of what I mean:
I actually am anti-Hillary. She supports fracking, TPP, keystone pipeline, voted for the Iraq war, is in the pockets of Wall Street, and isn’t concerned about getting money out of politics.
um….yeah we ARE anti-Hillary. She is Bill on steroids. Bought and paid for by the Koch Brothers, Monsanto, and any other beltway bandit that has enough money.
Bernie’s wrong on this one. Yes, I’m strongly pro-Sanders, but I’m ALSO anti-Hillary, because she simply doesn’t represent the Democratic party.
We certainly aren’t going to waste our vote for another Republican masquerading as a Democrat like the Clintons are!
No matter what, I will not vote for Clinton. We can survive a republican in office if that happens but I will write in Sanders’ name because I will not waste my vote on a power hungry, greedy, dishonest person like Clinton.
I would not vote for Hillary on her best day. I’m completely against the establishment politics. I will vote for Bernie Sanders or no one.
You’ve my support Bernie but honestly, many of us are anti-HRC, myself included.
Anyone calling on me to support Clinton in the general election will be disappointed. NO WAY. If Democrats throw her in the general election, they better get ready to lose.
Wrong. I will vote Sanders. If HRC is Dem nominee I will vote 3rd party. There is exactly a 0% chance I will vote HRC.
Clearly not everyone is anti-Clinton, but a whole lot of us are, but given the choice? Even I’d pick love Bernie over hates Hillary, but I still will never support Clinton. Period.
I’m anti-Clinton because I feel that Clinton is the worst choice out of the Democratic candidates.
Bernie that is not exactly correct. I like you. I hate Hillary. (Source)
Then if you really want to see some vitriolic anti-Clinton posts, just visit one of several pro-Sanders Facebook groups. In that group I just linked, there are actual pleas from some Sanders supporters to tone down the anti-Clinton rhetoric because his supporters are developing a rather negative reputation.
What’s ironic about all of this is that Bernie has said he will gladly support Clinton if she wins the nomination, and he doesn’t want this campaign to be a back and forth mud-slinging event – which is what many of his supporters seem eager to turn it into.
I would say this all surprises me, except I actually kind of predicted this a few months ago.
And there’s an underlying problem linked to these extremely aggressive Sanders supporters: It’s actually hurting his chances to win the general election if he were to become the Democratic nominee.
I’ve come across several people who said they were open to voting for Sanders, despite their reservations about him being a democratic socialist (believe it or not, there are a lot of moderate/conservative Democrats who aren’t exactly eager to support someone who identifies as a “socialist” of any type) who’ve said they’re reconsidering that now because of the hostile run-ins they’ve had with some of his supporters. Do I agree with that logic? Of course not.
As I’ve said numerous times, there’s far too much at stake in 2016 to act this petty about the eventual Democratic nomination. The number one goal of everyone on the left has to be to keep Republicans from winning the White House next year. While I support Clinton now, that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t support Sanders (or even Biden) if either were to ultimately win the nomination. Because no matter what anyone might think of any of these candidates, every single one of them is a thousand times better than anyone from the Republican party.
So, to those Sanders supporters who understand that, I want to say thank you. Especially those calling out your fellow Sanders supporters for some of their sounds-a-lot-like-Fox News-rhetoric they’ve been spewing lately. As liberals, we all need to be united by one cause heading into 2016: Stop Republicans from winning.
There’s absolutely no reason why someone has to be anti-any candidate just because they prefer one over the other. Support your candidate, engage in some great political discourse over the next few months, and when the nomination is all said and done – come together to make damn sure Republicans don’t take back the White House.