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.


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