We’re at that point in the 2016 primary where things are getting rather testy between the two Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. It’s to be expected; after months and months of campaigning, I’m sure they’re both grouchy, tired and exhausted from our incredibly long presidential election process.
But as presidential races become testy and contentious, so do the supporters for each candidate. In the modern day and age of the Internet and social media, it’s very easy for people to get online and wage “war” via Twitter, comments sections or other various forms of cyber communication.
That being said, there are a few things specifically that have been absolutely driving me crazy about quite a few Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters.
I’ll start with the Bernie Sanders folks.
Hypocrisy is a big pet peeve with me. It’s one of the biggest reasons why I oppose Republicans – though I’m well aware that some hypocrisy is a part of politics on any side of the aisle.
However, the blatant hypocrisy and double-standard that exists among some of Bernie Sanders’ most outspoken supporters when it comes to questioning him or something he’s done vs. bashing Hillary Clinton is, at times, both fairly comical and downright maddening. If Clinton had done some of the things Sanders or his campaign have been caught doing or have done (or haven’t done), that group of the #FeelTheBern folks would be losing their minds.
For example, right now there’s a slight push for Sanders to release his tax returns. This is something that liberals bashed Mitt Romney for in 2012 and has been a common practice among presidential candidates for decades. Yet, when Sanders has been asked about his tax returns, he’s tried to play coy about them – saying his wife handles all of that. That’s probably true, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that he seems to be trying to avoid releasing them. And don’t even tell me that if Hillary Clinton was trying to dodge releasing several years worth of her tax returns, many Sanders supporters, pro-Sanders websites and groups wouldn’t be attacking her relentlessly, insinuating she had “something to hide.” I think a candidate who bashes “millionaires and billionaires,” while talking about trying to cheat the system should prove what his worth is and show people if him and his wife have possibly been “cheating the system,” as well. I don’t think they have, but I think it’s a fair request.
Then there’s the fact he’s getting crushed by Clinton with minority voters. Which is interesting considering I’ve already seen some pro-Sanders people claim she’s a racist. That’s a pretty absurd thing to say about the candidate who’s overwhelmingly winning the African-American vote. But what would these Sanders backers be saying if all but one (Sanders did win Michigan) of Clinton’s wins came in states where the African-American population was incredibly small? Not only that, but many of his bigger wins have come in caucus states – a process of voting that actually suppresses voter turnout.
Be honest, if the roles were reversed, you Sanders voters know you’d be trying to paint her as “unelectable” because she was the candidate who’s only winning caucus states that produce low voter turnouts, who can’t win minority voters.
Then don’t even get me started on the data breach issue from December. Had her campaign been caught accessing and downloading confidential Sanders campaign information, his supporters would have flipped the hell out, called her a crook and said she was trying to cheat to win by trying to steal his information.
Now I’m not saying that Clinton doesn’t have her hypocrisies as well – she absolutely does. But I’ve never seen such a double-standard from a group of supporters where Bernie Sanders apparently can do no wrong and anything and everything Hillary Clinton does (or doesn’t do in the case of it being something signed by her husband or President Obama) is held against her.
Now, on the flip-side, I am sick and tired of some Hillary Clinton supporters throwing out “sexism” – constantly.
Just because a male says something to or about a female that comes off as rude or disrespectful does not instantly make it sexist.
Sure, there has been sexism thrown Clinton’s way. When you have Michele Bachmann, of all people, sort of showing sympathy toward Hillary Clinton over the double-standard women endure in politics, that pretty much proves that sexism is alive and well. And there is undoubtedly a different standard for women – all women – in politics, and society for that matter.
But to constantly paint Sanders as a sexist is ridiculous. To even try to claim he’s sexist is pretty absurd in and of itself.
I’ve watched plenty of Bernie Sanders interviews and speeches over the years; he’s a fairly blunt, very animated idealist who gets very into what he’s passionate about when speaking. During instances where he seems like he’s being sexist toward Clinton, that’s just Bernie being Bernie. I have no doubt that if Clinton were a man, or he wins the nomination and debates whoever becomes the Republican candidate, he’s going to act exactly the same – loud, passionate, hands flying around, arms often flailing while he speaks like he’s conducting an orchestra on LSD.
That’s not sexism, that’s just Bernie Sanders.
While the “Bernie Bro” phenomenon is something that does exist, it is something that’s been overblown by quite a few Clinton supporters. Not only that, but I think it’s important to stress that random comments on the Internet should often be taken with a grain of salt. I’m fairly certain that a lot of these so-called “Sanders supporters” who’ve said a lot of these vile things aren’t actual Sanders supporters. I have noticed on my Twitter account that quite a few “Sanders trolls” are people who seem to have created alternate accounts. Many times it’s people with little to no followers, who have generic profile pictures like the default “Twitter egg.”
Even as someone who supports Hillary Clinton, I’ve been blocked by quite a few of them for calling out these fairly ridiculous claims of sexism about damn near everything. I’ve even been called a “sexist” myself, because I dared to push back when these “always looking for sexism” people were being ludicrous. I feel the same way about this as I do racism; when you claim sexism in instances where it doesn’t exist just to use sexism as an attack, you do an injustice to actual sexism.
Again, if there’s legitimate sexism, by all means, call it out. But it seems that there’s a good chunk of Hillary supporters who seem to think everything Bernie Sanders or his supporters say or do is legitimately sexist.
And, please, stop bashing his age. I know – I’ve brought it up in the past, but I’m done mentioning it and haven’t in quite a while. Nearly everyone knows he’s 74 – we get it. Suggesting he’s not “mentally fit,” or even could have “Alzheimer’s” (yes, this seems to be a growing attack) is pathetic and should be beneath all supposed “liberals.” Long-time Democrats who are still fighting tooth and nail in Congress to save this country from Republicans like Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Lewis are all older than Sanders and I don’t see anyone bashing their “mental ability” to do their jobs.
If people want to be hesitant about supporting him because of his age, that’s their choice. Again, almost everyone is aware that he’s 74-years-old. There’s no reason to use that to levy petty, personal attacks against him.
Now I’m sure I’ll get bashed by some supporters on both sides for writing this, and that’s fine. And I’m certain Sanders people will do what they always do, claim that I wrote this to “bash Sanders” under the guise of “trying to bash both sides.” It’s a debunked conspiracy I end up seeing often when I write something like this.
As for the rest, as I’ve said for months, once the nominee is chosen, we must all come together and #VoteBlueNoMatterWho – because far too much is on the line this election to allow Republicans to win back the White House.
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