Bernie Sanders is great, but some of his most vocal supporters are becoming a problem

bernie-sanders-3However unlikely the scenario, if Bernie Sanders overtakes Hillary Clinton and wins the Democratic nomination for president, I’ll be one of his biggest supporters. Everyone’s goal heading into 2016 should be, above all else, to make sure Republicans don’t win – especially with the stakes as high as they are with the Supreme Court.

If you’re one of those “Hillary Clinton is no different from a Republican” people, let me educate you a little bit. Clinton is for:

  • Immigration reform
  • Free community college
  • Universal health care (since 1992, by the way)
  • Gay rights
  • Overturning Citizens United
  • Campaign finance reform
  • Raising taxes on the rich
  • Protecting women’s rights
  • Combating climate change

Practically every single Republican running for president strongly opposes each of those, so if you think “they’re the same” – well, you’re probably one of the people I’m talking about when I say that many Sanders supporters are becoming a problem.

The truth is, while I have my doubts about his electability, I have no problem supporting Bernie Sanders for president if he were to win the nomination. Again, my main goal is to keep Republicans out of the White House in 2016. I am unapologetic in saying that I would rather vote for a box of rocks under the Democratic ticket than any Republican.

So when I express my doubts concerning Sanders and his chances of winning, it’s not to “bash” him, it’s to point out some realities (often based on polling stats that I read just about every single day) showing that what I’ve believed for a while is actually coming true. Take for instance the Gallup poll showing that 41 percent of Democrats won’t support a socialist, or an even more recent CBS poll showing only 8 percent of Democrats think Sanders can win the general election. Now, I know what some will say, “That’s because the media keeps saying he can’t!” Well, let me remind those folks that even many of those who picked Sanders in that same CBS poll as the candidate they wanted to win the nomination said they didn’t think he could win it.

But my biggest concern with Sanders hasn’t really been that he’ll win the nomination, it’s that he’ll build up expectations from many liberals just enough to where if he eventually loses, it’s going to deflate enthusiasm and hand Republicans the White House next year.

And based on how radical quite a few of his supporters have become, that’s exactly what seems to be happening. If you don’t believe me, let me show you what I mean. From what I’ve been experiencing (and the feedback I’ve gotten from many other liberals as well), many Sanders supporters are radical, aggressive and sometimes even borderline “bully-ish” when it comes to anyone who might dare doubt anything to do with Bernie Sanders.

So, I decided to comb through the comments sections on just two articles I’ve written:

Keep in mind that the following comments came from just these two articles:

F*ck Hillary vote for Bernie Hillary changes her mind every time she figures out people aren’t buying her bs.

Hillary really only needs to make one change and that is to…tell the truth. Now, she knows she cannot do that, because then her chances of being president are over. And how is Bernie not electable? Better yet, how is Hillary even considered to be electable? I am one of those progressives with the mentaliry that is: Bernie or bust. I will not vote for Hillary.

Allen, STFU. We stopped listening when you told us that we need to line up bend over and graciously accept the nominee the Kingmakers bestow upon us. WE DON’T LIKE HILLARY CLINTON ALRIGHT? And we’re not going to.

No more ‘Bushs’ and no more ‘Clintons’. It’s time for someone that is true, honest & not bought. It’s time to #feelthebern

You are a tool. You, and everyone, should vote for what they believe in, not who is mostly likely to win.

All you cons are invalid. Also, you don’t support a candidate who you think is going to win. You support the one who you think CAN DO THE BEST.

If Bernie is the Dem candidate, I’ll joyfully go to the polls and vote for him. If Hillary gets the nomination, I’ll vote Republican, or whatever other choice is available.

Allen, you labeled Sanders a socialist 3-4 times in this article, which is a flat-out lie.

I’ll vote for Sanders, in a losing cause, if he’s nominated by the Dems. But he’s not their best candidate. Jim Webb has a much more nuanced view of the world. I will never vote for Hillary Clinton.

Thanks to this article, I’m “un-following” this site.

Forward Progressives? Really? Or middle of the road tentative steps party? Hillary Clinton has Monsanto execs working her campaign. She and Bill orchestrated the beginning of the neo-liberal wing of the Democratic party that sucked up to Wall Street and became Republican light.

One “pro” reason you don’t list: Hillary supporters will vote for Bernie, but many Bernie supporters will vote Green if Hillary gets the nomination. Sanders is stronger for the general election.

This is the worst political article I’ve read in a while and it makes me dread the 2016 election by reminding me that hard line democratic tools like you are once again going to sh*t talk the best person for the office and anyone who’s an idealist just because you want to “win.”

How much did wall street pay for that bs con list.

Spread the news, this author is PR for Clinton – he is an “unapologetic Hillary Clinton supporter” and likely getting money from Clinton’s campaign to write this stuff.

Then throw in a ton of “#FeeltheBern” or “#Bernie2016” posts mixed in and I think you get the point. Let me emphasize that these are comments from just two articles, though I’m seeing this tone from Sanders supporters on pretty much every article relating to either him or Clinton.

In that list you have conspiracy theorists (I love the person who’s posted on several articles warning that I must be paid by Hillary’s campaign since I support her); people who think Clinton is no better than a Republican; some who sound just as anti-Clinton as anyone on Fox News; individuals who insisted that “who can win” doesn’t matter – all statements that make it more likely Republicans win in 2016.

Now, it’s certainly likely that some of these comments we’re seeing aren’t really from Sanders supporters at all, but rather conservatives looking to further divide Democrats. But I’ve seen enough of this now (and much of it from people I know personally who identify as liberals) that I’m certain the trolls only account for a small percentage of the overall craziness I’m seeing from Sanders supporters.

Look, if people want to support Sanders, go ahead. If people want to support Clinton, that’s great too. But there’s one side that we all need to be on and that’s the side that votes for whoever ultimately ends up with the Democratic nomination. The main goal shouldn’t be a petty battle among liberals, because that’s exactly what Republicans want. Our goal as Democrats (and everyone on the left) should be very simple: Show up in large numbers for the Democratic nominee in 2016 and ensure a Republican doesn’t come anywhere near the White House. Because if that happens, we’re going to set this country back decades. Republicans will seek to undo all of the progress we’ve made over the last few years (most of them have already promised to undo all of it). To say nothing about the four Supreme Court Justices who are most likely going to retire in the next 8-10 years that none of us should want a Republican picking.

If Republicans win in 2016, liberals will only have themselves to blame. The GOP can’t win if liberals show up in large numbers to support the Democratic candidate. Not only that, but if we all show up to vote against Republicans we can give Democrats more power back in Congress – which is what really needs to happen for us to see actual progress on several key issues.

So, if you’re someone who “just can’t see themselves supporting a socialist,” suck it up and vote for Sanders if he wins the nomination. If you’re someone who “just can’t support Hillary,” hold your nose and vote straight-ticket “Democrat.”

Like I said, our ultimate goal shouldn’t be a petty squabble among liberals over Sanders vs. Clinton because that does us absolutely no good. All of us must have the same ultimate goal: To make damn sure Republicans don’t win the White House in 2016.

Agree? Disagree? Hit me up on Twitter or Facebook and let me know.

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.


Facebook comments

  • wendy

    deciding what country to move to just in case the Rep. takes over the govt. The current gridlock would be much better than going backwards. And if its Donald, how embarrassing for the U S.

    • La Chichi

      I wanted to vote for Hillary but her supporters are obnoxious, so I had to search for an alternative.

      • wendy

        bernie sanders

      • La Chichi

        I’m strongly considering him.

      • SickOfConservatives

        Sorry nobody’s more obnoxious than Bernie-Bots.

      • PlantJoySeeds

        Wow, this…do you not see that with this statement, you are doing the Exact Same Thing that you are saying about the Bernie supporters. GAWD, grow up!

      • SickOfConservatives

        You first.

      • Ubiquitousnewt

        I wanted to vote for Sanders but his supporters are obnoxious, AND HE WOULD LOSE, so I had to search for an alternative.

  • Estefan Gargost

    Well said!

  • Alexander Thorne

    and once again an article to push people towards the so called ‘inevitabitlity of Clinton being the choice shoved down our throats by the DNC . .. yesss.. the DNC that is grooming Shillary to take the reigns and make sure that the big money machine stays in place. Going so far as to hold the Demo debate up until mid OCTOBER… pfft..and then to also keep it to only 6 debates.. everything they can do to protect Shillary they are doing .. and we the people can see it.. we see it. Shove this article way, way up, your money maker. #BernieSanders2016

    • Matt Schaum

      Why do you need more than 6 debates when you have 5 or 6 nominees? At that point it gets repetitive. And I would hope that the people that are supporting Bernie sanders now head to the polls to cast their vote for him. If you want to best hilary so badly, get her out voted, plain and simple. Just like romney in the gop primary. Everyone got excited for a bunch of people, but then those supporters never went to the polls so it was moot.

      • Gregoire Patches

        In depth topical debates? Let them educate us.

      • EuroYankee

        This is very unusual. The last time a party limited debates to only 6 was in 1980, when the GOP was afraid of Ronald Reagan and so limited the debates to protect the “establishment” candidates. How did that work out? :))))

    • steveannie

      Yep, I’m another “problem” for Hillary Clinton. I love the way Clifton claims to “educate” us about what Hillary is for. He should have said what Hillary CLAIMS TO BE for. She’s as dishonest as Bill was. It’s the same ol’ Clinton con game: run from the left; govern from the right. The only thing Clinton is “for” is Clinton.

      • LauraAkers

        Unless, of course, you look at her actual voting record on the issues Clifton cites above which show her governing from the left.

        But hey, don’t let facts impact your opinion in the slightest.

        Hillary has more in common with Bernie than she has in opposition to him if you look at her actual legislative record. This election is about a lot of issues not just the three or four where they part company.

        Please go to an unbiased site like and find out the candidates actual records. Because the only way you can say that Hillary is the same as the Republican is if you are lying or have no idea what you are talking about.

        When it come to women’s rights, minimum wage, LGBT rights, vets’ rights, immigration, the Voting Rights Act, the ACA, and other issues that affect the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans, Hillary is on the same side as Bernie.

      • steveannie

        Apparently, you have some reading comprehension issues. I never even mentioned “the Republican” (whoever that is). I said Hillary was just like Bill. may claim to be unbiased, but I don’t believe it is. And don’t tout her record on “women’s rights” after what she did on the bankruptcy “reform” law. It’s too much like what Bill did with his welfare “reform,” and those two things have done more harm to American women than anything else in the last 30 years. Hillary was dead set against it and agreed about how harmful it would be … until Wall Street said they wanted it passed.

      • LauraAkers

        On what basis do you allege that is biased? Simply because it doesn’t agree with your worldview? It literally just reports the public record on how politicians voted, what bills they signed on to, things like that.

        And how exactly does her stance on bankruptcy change her stance and voting record on, say, equal pay or reproductive freedom?

      • alwaysthink

        Steveannie is misrepresenting HRC’s record on bankruptcy legislation. It gets complicated very quickly so the RW is counting on the fact that people will get lost in the legalese and just believe the BS

      • szncorrea

        Balloney. Hillary supports Planned Parenthood, immigration reform for dreamers, womens’ rights, paid maternity/paternity leave, paid leave for family illness or death healthcare reform, LGBT rights, better childcare, pay equity, raising the minimum wage, voter rights, civil rights, veteran’s rights, repealing Citizens United, breaking up the banks, punishing companies that take their business overseas, increasing taxes on the wealthy, major infrastructure repair, free community college, standing up to the NRA, the Iran treaty, climate change and the deal that was just reached by almost two hundred countries, and is pro-choice…

        Here’s her voting record.

    • Cracking Ceilings

      Yeah, tough…

    • gaylib

      Republican troll.

    • Jim Valley


    • rebeccagavin

      My gods. Could you have made his point for him any better if you were using a bullhorn?

    • Coagmano

      The point wasn’t to accept the inevitability of Hillary. Vote for whichever candidate you like most, get your friends and family to, campaign for them if you want.
      But whoever gets the nomination, we need to support for the general.

      Inventing conspiracy theories just makes all dems look like nut jobs, just like the tea party makes the republicans nutjobs.

  • Terry Evdokimoff

    My concern is that if Sanders does not win the Nomination, that he will run on an Independent ticket, pulling a Donald Trump. The Dems would lose for sure. My vote is, and has been, with Hillary.

    • lword

      He has already stated he will not do that.

    • Jim Valley

      I like the way you actually use the word “concern” while concern trolling. Nice touch!

    • Diana

      I think I read an article where he said he would NOT do that. He referenced Ralph Nader in that article. I’m voting for him in the primaries but would not go off a ticket that has a chance of winning in the general election. The SCOTUS appointments are too important to gamble that way. Not even a gamble. Third parties have never gotten more than a few percentage points in the POTUS election.

    • shaun h

      He’ll get my vote whether or not he secures the nomination.

      First time in my life I have had someone to vote FOR, and that’s what I will do.

  • Politician

    Hillary may espouse different positions than the Republican candidates. The fact remains that she has been bought and paid for by the 1%, and has no intention of improving life for the lower and middle class at their expense.

  • Davey

    Another Hillary shill heard from. Concern trolling at it’s finest. Hillary has some åsshole supporters too. It don’t mean squat, but when that’s all you got you have to go with it I guess.

  • SickOfConservatives

    Annnnnd the comments below are just what the writer above was talking about. Congrats.

    • Diana

      SickOfConservatives, I’m convinced some of these comments are by Republican trolls, not Bernie supporters, to create dissension among the ranks. I’m a Bernie supporter but would ABSOLUTELY vote for Hillary in the general election. She is a moderate, not a liberal, but that’s better than a conservative any day of the week.

      • shaun h

        How is softening the blow of Wall Street control preferable than allowing the people to feel the full effect, so they might get off their behinds and reclaim the democratic process.

        Besides, I want Bernie’s agenda to be made into law, so much so that I’m reaching out to people who want to run for congress on that agenda. 😉

        Hillary will depress turnout and if she wins, the congress will remain GOP.

        Bernie will excite and energize people and has the potential to sweep in Democratic majorities in both houses.

        He’ll bring in an entirely new cabinet instead of the status quo retreads hillary would subject us to.

      • badphairy

        Kudos on being one of the few sane ones.

      • LauraAkers

        I wish this was true. I have had to stop talking to my Bernie supporting brother because, even though I have told him I am also voting for Bernie, he curses me out for saying that our fellow Bernie supporters have to back whichever Dem wins the nomination. My otherwise rational sibling spins tales of shadowy anti-Bernie conspiracies and yells at me when I ask for evidence that any of them are true.

        This is really happening.

      • alwaysthink

        It reminds me of 1972 when McGovern ran against the Labor Wing of the Dems. Both sides hated each other. They made everyone chose between being pro-worker or Anti-war, you couldn’t be both.

        So we got Nixon and his Watergate scandal.

      • Belgian Girl

        Great example!

  • La Chichi

    I was a Hillary supporter until a few days ago. I was appalled at the way she used the BLM people to smear her opponent. She is going to split the Party by using race to divide us.

    • Cracking Ceilings

      You’re such a paid liar!

      • La Chichi

        You must be a Sanders supporter because I can tell by how rude and obnoxious you are.

      • Diana

        And here I thought YOU were a Sanders supporter, by your first comment, until you said that. Trolling uncovered, lol.

      • La Chichi

        I support Hillary, Einstein.

      • Diana

        …and you also said:

        “I wanted to vote for Hillary but her supporters are obnoxious, so I had to search for an alternative.”

        It doesn’t take an Einstein to catch your inconsistencies, troll. So when you also condemn Bernie, it’s obvious you are just a troll.

      • La Chichi

        You’re a loon. I have said if I find out that she was behind this BLM thing I will drop my support. I’m on the fence, when I said I didn’t support her anymore it was out of anger.

        But I don’t need to explain myself to you cupcake. You’re just another troll on the internet looking for someone to argue with. Go fight with your husband (if you even have one).

      • SickOfConservatives

        Didn’t you post earlier about how obnoxious Hillary voters are? Your cover is blown, rightie troll.

      • Diana

        Cracking Ceilings, and not even a good one. Did you notice her reply to you shows she’s not a Bernie supporter (already said not a Hillary supporter), so why would she be concerned about “splitting the Party”, lol? Because she’s a conservative troll, lol.

      • cleos_mom

        Yes, it’s so much better when people lie gratis.

    • That is not true. Is there a Fox program for Bernie. I love Bernie. Heard his stump speech in Dallas. But i will not bash either candidate, especially not with lies like you just did. I will wholeheartedly vote a straight Democratic ticket.
      And every progressive, liberal, democratic socialist, or left of center Democrat who doesn’t do that is dumping the entire contry into a bucket of CRAP.

      • Diana

        Paula, I agree. I’m for Bernie, but you don’t throw out at least moderate/liberal leanings for pure conservative crap!

    • Jim Valley

      SURE you were. Nice concern trolling, Cletus.

      • La Chichi

        You Bernie supporters are so rude.

      • Diana

        Because we know you’re a conservative troll and not concerned with the Moderate OR Liberal faction of the Democratic party? No, honey, we just aren’t STUPID.

      • La Chichi

        I support Hillary. Get over it. You Bernie supporters are the real trolls.

      • Diana

        La Chichi,
        Well, then, why did you say:

        “I was a Hillary supporter until a few days ago. I was appalled at the way she used the BLM people to smear her opponent. She is going to split the Party by using race to divide us.”

        You said that 3 days ago. Having a hard time keeping up with your lies? LOL.

      • La Chichi

        I was angry when I said that. I still support her and you Bernie supporters are still obnoxious.

      • dmartin1910

        Uh-huh. At least we aren’t flakes that flip-flop back and forth then attack the person and say “get over it” after YOU had contradictory statements. What a ditz!

  • Cracking Ceilings

    Republican paid trolls out in force. America Rising Pac getting their money’s worth.

  • PrezMtDewCamacho

    This website is pathetic, it might as well be sponsored by Breitbart “news”

  • NeoLotus

    Life and death, and the soul of a democratic republic is not a petty debate.

  • Don Nyberg

    Good objective article. I prefer Bernie and Elizabeth, but I will certainly vote democratic for many reasons no matter who who is our candidate. Democrats who shout Bernie, or else I vote Republican, are irrational and need to grow up.

  • Hugo Montoya

    Open memo to ALLEN CLIFTON:

    It’s probably impossible to write about the internecine skirmishing between Sanders supporters and Clinton supporters without making an argument that can be understood as an attempt at covert partisan manipulation of one faction or the other; many people look at everything on the subject with an eye out for hidden agendas, and with good reason.

    At the same time, the “ANY D-candidate is preferable to ANY R-candidate” commentaries are important and need to be emphasized. I wonder if it’s possible to do this without dragging in the ideologically-suspect candidate-vs-candidate analyses. You might try doing that in the future.

    You might also try (though I doubt you’d succeed) to frame a candidate-vs-candidate discussion in a way that doesn’t seem to reinforce any off the dubious assertions that are being used to sway future votes. (The most obvious of those is the ‘unelectable’ meme, but there are several others that also look like red flags to alert readers.)

    • PlantJoySeeds

      But this is Clifton’s “M.O”. bashing Bernie and/or his followers seems to be all he knows how to write.

  • Brett

    I’ve grown weary and tired watching my friends’ houses get foreclosed, go without medication and health care, and get sent to war. I’m tired of fighting every day to help a country that won’t help anyone but profiteers. If Bernie fails to land the presidency, then the next leader is irrelevant to me. I won’t be here to share the nightmare.

    • feral dragon

      You and your 20k salary wont be missed. Goodbye loser!

  • eagle keeper

    Bernie, Winston Churchill once remarked about socialism. He said it would be like a man standing in a bucket trying to pull himself up by the handle. So why don’t you try that? Then all will see why liberal policies have kept so many in or at the poverty level for decades now. If it isn’t true, why are there so many on the public dole? The bible clearly states if you don’t work, you don’t eat.So isn’t the whole Democratic notion of how to conduct a political policy counter to what Jehovah God had in mind for mankind in the first place? But I forget that conservative values would never line up with the progressive give away programs all to get the sheeple to vote for your loser politics. I agree, Bernie, there is nothing cute or beneficial about your policies that would help anyone to become self sufficient and able to stand on their own two feet. It is time the sheeple stop relying on governments failed policies to “fix” their problems and they rely on themselves and “fix” themselves.

    • Jerry Vitale

      …..Congress doesn’t work and they eat plenty!!!

  • Jerry Vitale

    I’ll never squander my vote for the lesser of the two evils again. It would be like putting kerosene on a fire instead of gas, because it doesn’t burn as fast!!! If the Republicans win and continue their carnage of the Bush administration, then maybe, just maybe, We the People will finally revolt against these fascist, oligarchs and take OUR country back, instead of sending our boys to die for wars for profit!!!….NO MORE CORPORATE HACKS!!!….BERNIE or BUST!!!

    • feral dragon

      -coward and weakling

  • alwaysthink

    I see this also. Some of these bashers seem to be covert GOP operatives trying to take advantage of Bernie supporters.

    And look at the language and charges they make against Hillary. It’s never over policy differences she and Bernie have!

    Most of it is old, tired RW/GOP talking points all the way back to Whitewater. She lies, we can’t trust her, yada, yada, yada.

    Years ago before she ran for the Senate, she talked about the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy wanting to split and divide Liberals/Progressives. She was scoffed at. But just look at all the stink tanks and various RW funded groups out there spewing stuff to divide us.

    If you love Bernie fine, but tell us about specific policies that Hillary supports that you don’t like. Just spewing RW talking points at her only makes you look like a troll.

  • alwaysthink

    Maybe what we need to do is change the conversation.

    Why not have a ticket with both of them!

    Now the choice is between who leads the ticket and who runs as VP.

    They would really make a great team and their Progressive staffs could really move the country forward.

    Of course, we also need to elect a Congress to support their efforts and we should be talking about that also.

    And if you don’t like this idea then I think you are either a RW troll or a victim of RW brainwashing.

    • feral dragon

      -retarded k2 smoker

  • Hillary is an opportunist, she only believed gays should have equal rights when she realized she could get major votes for it. Bernie has supported LGBT rights since the beggining, even in the 1970’s when most states had it illegal.

  • Ubiquitousnewt

    Pretty much every….EVERY…rabid Sanders supporter is 33 and under.

    a) Anyone who was 18 or older in 2000 remembers Nader and the very real spoiler effect that handed Bush the election, ushering in 8 years of war and famine. When liberals get petulant & insistent about a candidate that CAN NOT WIN, you really do effectively hand the election to the other side – and that, it turns out, is bad. REALLY bad.

    b) because they have NO IDEA just how deep older American’s aversion to anything socialist or communist runs. Sanders’ socialism stick is less popular than atheists and muslims…but you think he can get elected? You’re nuts.

  • feral dragon

    I dont work. I need more money to support the lifestyle I deserve. #feeltheBern

  • Another Point of View

    You know, I’m really worried that a whole lot of the reasons people are so against Hilary are rooted in sexism. Her husbands actions are not her own, and it concerns me that so many people act as though she deserves to go to jail – especially when it’s democrats saying these things. Bernie and Hilary’s ideas are very similar; about half of the democratic debates are spent with them agreeing with one another, and I think they’d make a great team. They have their strengths and weaknesses – Bernie’s best a shooting for the stars, and Hilary’s good at being practical and honest – but when it comes down to it, they’re both trying to do the same things to America. I support both of them equally, and am trying to keep an open mind about this election. I know that I’d rather have Hilary win than Donald Trump, at least. Wouldn’t you?