If You’re Still “Bernie or Bust” at This Stage of the Election, Let’s Talk About What You Really Are

Over a year ago, I predicted that Bernie Sanders running for president would lead to some sort of left-wing push based on unrealistic (and sometimes irrational) expectations. Well, that’s exactly what happened with the group of folks now known as “Bernie or bust.” Even before Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump were ever presidential candidates, I saw the “writing on the wall,” as they say. Though it was during Sanders’ rise last summer from single-digit candidate to legitimate presidential contender where this movement began to solidify and become slightly more organized.

As time went on, I had more and more of these supposed Democrats/liberals/progressives proclaim that “as life-long Democrats” they could never support Hillary Clinton. Many declared her no better than a Republican, more conservative than someone like Jeb Bush, and a pro-Wall Street sellout who they would never trust. Others obsessed over her vote for the Iraq War, declaring that Bernie Sanders was the anti-war candidate — while almost always ignoring (if not outright denying) that he voted for the war in Afghanistan. (By the way, that war is still going on and has been about as pointless.)

And it didn’t matter what facts you used to counter some of these talking points, such as:

  • Bringing up the fact that she was ranked the 11th most liberal senator in Congress — more liberal than President Obama or Joe Biden.
  • Her and Bernie Sanders voted on the same side of the issues 93 percent of the time as senators.
  • While he did vote against the Iraq War, Sanders supported the still-ongoing war in Afghanistan.
  • She has exactly one pro-Wall Street vote (If you doubt me, just ask Bernie Sanders who was asked to name them during a debate, but couldn’t list any) that’s somewhat controversial (the infamous bankruptcy bill). Sanders also has a pro-Wall Street vote on legislation that actually made the 2008 crash worse.
  • The last time we had a Clinton select two Supreme Court Justices, he gave us Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Stephen Breyer, two of the most consistently liberal Justices we have on the Court.
  • While her husband did, in fact, sign his famous “crime bill” that led to our issue with mass incarcerations, she never actually voted for the bill — Bernie Sanders did.
  • Even though many of the “Bernie or bust” folks claimed to be fans of President Obama, nearly every attack and criticism they say about Hillary Clinton could just as easily be used against him.

Literally, for months, I used fact after fact to dispute, debunk or correct the misinformation a lot of these folks were saying, but it never mattered.

Eventually I wrote an article titled: Many Sanders Supporters are Treating Clinton the Same Way Republicans Treat Obama.

I won’t get into everything I wrote in that piece (you can check it out here), but the general point I made was that many of these “Bernie or bust” people simply want to hate and dislike Hillary Clinton – which is exactly how many Republicans act about President Obama. They want to hate him, so it doesn’t matter what facts you use to counter one of their talking points, it won’t matter because their minds are already made up.

Even though I am well aware of the reality that most Sanders supporters are rational, amazing people, it was this small (though extremely vocal) group of “Bernie or bust” individuals who, unfortunately, often came to mind when people thought of a Bernie Sanders supporter.

However, as the months went on, things began to get really strange with a lot of these folks. Even as the primary wrapped up, and indisputable mathematical evidence proved that the reason why Sanders lost wasn’t because “the primary was rigged,” but because he couldn’t sway enough minority voters to his side, it didn’t matter to most of these folks. There were still pro-Sanders people out there claiming that he was going to be the nominee. Even after he officially endorsed Clinton, there were some claiming that it was “just part of his plan to win with a floor vote.”

It was absolute insanity.

Following his official endorsement of Hillary Clinton, that’s when we began to really see what this “Bernie or bust” movement was about. Suddenly, he was the one being called a “sellout” and a “fraud” for doing exactly what he said he would do for his entire campaign. And it wasn’t just Bernie who felt the burn. Whenever these “Bernie or bust” folks heard facts they didn’t want to hear from someone they claimed to admire, they would instantly turn on them. Individuals such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Robert Reich. Even very pro-Sanders supporter Sarah Silverman said “Bernie or bust” people were being ridiculous, while Bernie supporter Bill Maher said they’ll be the “death of liberals.”

This was never about admiring and respecting the opinions and thoughts of people, even Sanders himself. This was about “Bernie or bust” people seeking out individuals who were telling them what they wanted to her, then rejecting those very same people whenever they told them realities they didn’t want to face.

Well, it was when the convention began that these “Bernie or bust” people really exposed who they are.

From booing the man himself, to heckling speakers any time Clinton’s named was mentioned, these folks weren’t in Philadelphia because they wanted to “continue the revolution” or because they respect Bernie Sanders — they were there for themselves and their own egos.

Nobody cared about their protests. Well, at least nobody besides those who already agreed with them. Not only that, but on Monday, when Sanders had his big day to shine, the story wasn’t about his message — it was about the behavior of these “Bernie or bust” supporters.

But the truth is, most of these people were never really Bernie Sanders supporters to begin with. Most of them weren’t even Democrats — though many claimed that they were. It was people like H.A. Goodman who, for most of the campaign, simply used Sanders’ popularity to push their anti-Clinton/anti-Democratic party message. People who’d sometimes imply that they might vote for Clinton as a way to sound open-minded. However, the truth is, they would have never voted for her in the first place, no matter what she said or did.

The people who, for over a year, claimed that Bernie Sanders was the one true beacon of hope, honesty and integrity were suddenly saying things like “the revolution will go on without him” and “the revolution is bigger than he is.”

Talk about a group of egotistical demagogues.

The man who started the “revolution” was now being told by the very people who hung on his every word, “Thanks, but no thanks, we’re going to do what we want to do regardless of what you say we need to do.” You can’t claim to admire and respect the honesty and judgement of someone, then turn on them and ignore their words when they begin to tell you things you don’t want to hear. At that point, you’re no longer “pro-Bernie,” you’re pro-yourself.

People who claim they want:

  • A higher minimum wage.
  • To combat climate change.
  • Immigration reform.
  • To protect gay rights.
  • Universal health care.
  • To protect same-sex marriage.
  • Education reform.
  • Criminal justice reform.
  • To protect voting rights.
  • To defend women’s rights.
  • Support abortion rights.

Who are rabidly against a woman who, while admittedly isn’t “as liberal” as Bernie Sanders — is still a hell of a lot more progressive than they’ll ever admit. People who literally believe Green Party hero Dr. Jill Stein can win, even though there’s absolutely zero chance of that happening. While no vote is “wasted,” when I hear Green Party supporters trying to convince people to ditch Clinton for Stein, all I hear them saying is that they’re perfectly fine with Donald Trump becoming our next president.

If your disdain for Hillary Clinton is stronger than your fear of how much of a disaster Trump would be as president, you are hopelessly delusional. While Clinton isn’t perfect, Trump’s sheer incompetence of how government even works is dangerous for our entire nation.

But what I saw this week was a group of people expose themselves for who they really are. These folks aren’t progressives, because progressives aren’t close-minded conspiracy theorists who ignore facts, shout and yell at people; and they damn sure don’t believe right-wing propaganda simply because it’s feeding their anti-Clinton bias (yeah, that happened several times this past year).

This is the left’s version of the tea party. They’re ideological purists who live inside of an echo chamber of their own confirmation bias. They’re not true supporters of Bernie Sanders — not even close. The real Bernie Sanders supporters are the people who, despite wishing he had won the nomination, listen to him when he says we cannot allow Donald Trump to become our next president, and that Hillary Clinton will make an excellent president. They didn’t abandon him the moment he told them something they didn’t like hearing.

That’s why I’ve scoffed at this idea of the so-called “revolution” many of the “Bernie or bust” people talk about. The revolution did happen — it’s just not the far-left idiocy they’re pushing.

The real revolution (not this fake one these fake Sanders supporters blather on about to one another in social media groups) happened when one senator from the small state of Vermont brought about sweeping changes to the Democratic party. The real revolution happened when Hillary Clinton stood on a stage during the final night of the DNC convention and gave a speech that was so influenced by Sanders’ fundamental impact on her as a candidate that it could have almost been written by him. And the real revolution will continue this November when we elect Hillary Clinton as our next president, someone who, because of what Bernie Sanders was able to accomplish this past year, will be held accountable every single day of her presidency to adhere to the promises she’s made.

The bottom line is, Hillary Clinton is a much better candidate, and will be a much better president, because of Bernie Sanders and the real revolution he brought to the party.

As for these “Bernie or bust” people, it’s time we start calling them what they really are: The Green Tea Party.

What they’ve shown all of us with their recent behavior is that this “movement” has nothing to do with Bernie Sanders — but everything to do with them, their delusions of grander and their anti-Clinton agenda that’s based mostly on misinformation and their unwillingness to accept facts that don’t confirm their bias.

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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