There’s One Kind of Bernie Sanders Supporter That I Really Don’t Understand

When it comes to Bernie Sanders supporters, I typically understand why some people might prefer him over Hillary Clinton – even if I disagree with some of their reasoning. I don’t have to agree with why someone thinks the way that they do in order to understand them. That’s part of what makes this country great, the ability to have free and open dialogue even when we disagree with one another.

However, there is one type of Sanders supporter that I simply do not get: Liberals, progressives or Democrats who are huge fans of President Obama but seem to hate Hillary Clinton.

If it’s about their personalities, I’ve never quite understood the whole “I want to have a beer with this person” mentality when it comes to our politicians. Let’s be honest, the best politicians are salespeople who know how to give speeches. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be worth a damn once elected – it just makes them more “likable” and, thus, more likely to get elected.

If it’s just that internal feeling of “I don’t like her,” that’s fine, we’ve all been there. I’ve certainly met people who, for some unknown reason, I just didn’t much care for. I would hope that when it comes to electing a president, we should care more about qualifications and policy stances than we do their “likability.” I would much rather have an effective president who’s a great leader than someone who was really likable, but a piss-poor Commander-in-Chief.

I’m voting for a president – not a new BFF.

Subjective feelings about personality differences aside, when it comes to policy, I’m not sure how someone can logically be pro-Obama while hating or strongly disliking Clinton.

The truth is, if Barack Obama were running against Bernie Sanders this year, the Vermont senator would be using many of the same attacks on him as he is on Hillary Clinton.

Here have been some of the biggest attacks Bernie has used against Hillary:

  • Past support for DOMA/opposition to same-sex marriage.
  • Trade agreements.
  • Millions of dollars from Wall Street.
  • Big money donors.
  • Super PACs.
  • The Panama papers.
  • Libya.
  • Drone strikes/continued intervention in the Middle East.
  • The Patriot Act.
  • The Wall Street bailout.
  • Received money from pharmaceutical companies.
  • Deportations (something Sanders can’t really even use against Clinton).
  • The Keystone Pipeline (How many years did Obama not fully come out against it?).
  • Fracking.

The list goes on and on.

And if you don’t think President Obama will one day soon be making millions from large speaking fees, you’re naive. Right now, the Obamas are currently worth around $23 million (much more than the Clintons were when they left office) – a number that’s going to skyrocket once they move out of the White House.

Quick change of subject. We really need to be careful about walking the line between advocating for better levels of income equality, which I think we all agree on, and simply generalizing and vilifying the rich. This is something I’ve seen happen far too much this past year – especially lately.

But when you really look at Sanders, he’s sort of talking out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to the president.

On one hand, he’s been very careful not to talk too negatively about this president because he’s immensely popular among the vast majority of Democrats – especially African-Americans. Plus it never looks good to be overly critical of a current Democratic president when you’re trying to win the Democratic presidential nomination.

Though on the other hand, Sanders and his supporters have absolutely hammered Clinton on issues that could just as easily be used against this president. I listed a few of those issues where Clinton and Obama are very similar above, but there are plenty more.

So, I apologize, but I just don’t quite understand the “I love Obama but can’t stand/hate/strongly dislike Hillary Clinton” group of Bernie Sanders supporters.

I’m not suggesting it’s overt sexism, but some of this attitude does seem to carry with it a certain degree of sexism (even if it’s subtle and done without people realizing it) where a woman is judged more harshly than a man for saying, doing or supporting the exact same things. It makes absolutely no sense for someone to believe that Clinton is nothing but a “shill for Wall Street who’s beholden to big money donors; can’t be trusted because she has a super PAC; is too war-hungry; once supported and favors disastrous trade agreements” – then turn around and say they’re a huge fan of President Obama and they wish he could serve a third term.

By the way, in 2008, President Obama not only lost the overall popular vote against Clinton – but he never won enough pledged delegates to clinch the nomination outright. That means he needed superdelegates to become the Democratic nominee. Just thought I’d throw that out there as another example of a similar situation (though Clinton’s lead over Sanders is much larger than Obama ever had over her in 2008) linking the current president and his one-time Secretary of State.

People are free to think what they want, support who they want and have whatever opinion they want. I don’t have a problem with any of that.

I just get confused when I see so many of these folks who proudly claim they love President Obama – while simultaneously using talking points against Hillary Clinton that could just as easily be used against this president – to profess how much they can’t stand her, how untrustworthy she is, and that she’ll never be able to earn their vote.

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

  • anastasjoy

    The “untrustworthy” thing particularly bothers me because it’s unclear what any of these people think she is “untrustworthy” about. All candidates change positions over time; all officeholder are unable to accomplish much of what they’d like to. That charge has always seemed to me to contain an element of “Women – you just can’t trust them.”

    • Patrick Sargent

      There is a litany of issues in which Hillary can be brought to task. I think it is a bit sexist to assume because people think she is untrustworthy that it has to be the fact that she is a woman and not the fact that she is simply untrustworthy. Rather than assuming everyone thinks she is untrustworthy because she is a woman, maybe she should be trying to repair the fact that she seems untrustworthy. She doesn’t seem sincere in her actions and says whatever the crowd wants to hear.

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      • Betty J Rousey

        She has had a never-ending investigation going on by Republicans DYING to find her in the wrong about something — even breaking the law — to prove something, ANYTHING. Nobody is that lucky. If there was something to find, they’d have found it by now. But THEIR distrust has filled your head (as well as those of many others) with mistrust. They actually ruined their own Republican party, just trying to nail Democrats… We still have some great Republican politicians out there – they simply retired instead back in the mid 2000s. They couldn’t watch their own party do to itself what it was doing. Hillary is OK.

  • beerm0nkey

    “I didn’t vote for Mittens or Barry either.”

    So you were irrelevant in 2012 and you’ll be irrelevant this year. Here’s the thing. We don’t need you. We’ll put Hillary in the White House in November, trust me.

  • sherie

    I do love Sanders’ message. I consider myself a democratic socialist. BUT I think he is a little too ‘pie in the sky’ for my taste. His values, while great, are likely to prove a little too extreme for the general population (remember a fairly large percentage support Trump). Change for the better in a democracy or republic happens slowly. I am likely to support Hillary, and in the General election, I will vote for whoever the nomination is, because, Trump scares me. I certainly do not think that Trump will improve the economy, or even help the people who are not already wealthy.