Friday, May 20, 2016

The Cult of Bernie, Part The Third (with more math and some sad observations)

My primary is over and done with, as are the primaries of almost all of my friends.  Only a few states remain in the primary season:  3 non-states (Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia), California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico and the Dakotas.  If the trends of other states continue, Bernie will win the white places (Montana and the Dakotas), Hillary will win handily in DC, and they will be virtually tied in California and New Jersey.  Puerto Rico & the Virgin Islands are rather a mystery to us.  Hillary won by a narrow margin in Guam & American Samoa, but those are Pacific & PR and VI are Caribbean, so I can't imagine any similarities other than being possessions.  I will just estimate a tie for those places.

SO if the margins follow trends, Hillary will win about 483 and Sanders about 450 (assuming the superdelegates are apportionate).  If I'm very wrong, the numbers could be the reverse.

... meaning they would finish with 2726 (Clinton) vs. 2022 (Sanders)... assuming the superdelegates who have already pledged to a candidate don't change their minds.  Almost all of them would have to do that for him to win, so he shouldn't hold his breath.  He's been calling them crooked, among other things, and that's not the way to win supporters.  A lot of superdelegates know him from Congress, since he's served in both houses, yet those who know both candidates have chosen to go with Clinton.  Math and logic say that he just won't win (even though technically he can), but I'm losing friends over this.

* * * * * * 
I have been feeling very alone since concluding that the Sanders campaign is a little too fringe for me.   There are supposed to be crazy HRC supporters but I haven't found them.  I belong to a couple of Facebook groups that lean in her direction but I haven't seen anything loopy there, and not even any anti-Sanders stuff until recently.

Recently we doubters have started coming out of the closet.  Of course I don't dare link posts like this poignant post by a disability activist who got blown off by Sanders's campaign.  My Sanderbot friends will say she's a shill for Hill, though I think it's important reading.

Sources that used to be considered non-Mainstream Media (abbreviated MSM by the kool-aid drinkers) are also publishing thoughtful articles about the campaign and the movement.  I don't imagine any Bernie-or-Bust cult member would care, but I share the quotations below:

Ideological liberals are among the loudest Democrats, but they are a minority within the entire party. And while that minority is larger and stronger than it’s been in a generation, it’s still not strong enough to steer the party alone. It still has to play coalition politics....
The simple fact is that there aren’t enough liberals to elect politicians outside of bastions in California and in the Northeast, and there never have been.
...For most of his congressional career, Sanders has been a gadfly—an ideologue pressing his colleagues from the left, with a base in one of the least diverse states in the union. The same qualities that make him exciting to so many Americans—his passion, his bluntness, his uncompromising views—make him ill-suited for the transactional politicking that you need to pull off a coup against an establishment figure like Hillary Clinton. 
Gadfly!  Yes, that's the conclusion I came to long before reading this.  Gadflies often have a legitimate gripe, but they aren't leaders.  In politics, people who disagree (ideally) work together to come up with solutions that everyone can live with.  Who would attack the very institution that gave them a platform?  Sanders is no Martin Luther King.  He's more like a Martin Luther -- starting his own religion because the Catholic Church wouldn't reform at the rate and extent he wanted.  (The Catholic church did in fact reform in response to his movement but it was too late - he took his supporters with him and started the Lutheran denomination.

Another Slate piece "Bernie, Don't Do This:"
In the past month, Sanders has switched gears, from a policy critique of Clinton to a process argument against the Democratic Party. The argument? That any outcome short of full deference to his campaign is evidence of corruption and betrayal....
...Sanders’ most expansive argument is against “closed primaries,” which have entered his stump speech as a fundamentally unfair part of the process. But closed primaries weren’t created in response to Sanders—they are a long-standing feature. Critically, they are far from the least democratic part of the process. That goes to caucuses, which by their design preclude the vast majority of a given electorate from participating. If closed primaries are undemocratic for keeping out registered independents, then caucuses are undemocratic for keeping out everyone. Yet Sanders hasn’t railed against them. And why would he? They’ve delivered his largest victory margins and have fueled his campaign.
Yes, the reformer only wants to reform those aspects of the process that didn't benefit him.  When this language started infiltrating his campaign, I took notice.  I liked him when he seemed to be supportive of poor people and blue collar workers, but now it's about what he wants for himself.  (Speaking of working people, I'm personally against caucuses because they disenfranchise the poor.   Voting can be done by mail, in advance or by stopping off at the polls on the way to work.  Caucuses favor people with cars, child care (or no children), and time on their hands.  If Sanders truly cared about election fairness he'd call for the end to caucuses)

Jessie Jackson, who is old, yes, but hardly part of the Oligarchy that Sanders thinks he'll overthrow, is piling on:
Jackson said he believes the Vermont senator has "every right" to remain in the race until someone has reached the delegate threshold to clinch the party's nomination. However, once Clinton becomes the nominee, Sanders must work to ensure that his supporters don't assume that the only option come November is to "stay home or support Trump," Jackson added.
This really means something because Jackson himself was once the outsider who shook up the party. It turned out that like Sanders, he did not have wide enough appeal to prevail.  If anyone knows what's at stake, it's Jackson.  And he represents a very important part of the Democratic party - the "black vote" that Sanders seems not to be able to reach.  Ignoring Jackson would just reinforce the impression that he is tone-deaf when it comes to race.  Black people were always poor and hopeless, and they are now less poor and less hopeless.  Sanders appeals to the white people who feel downtrodden, but only in the context of the privilege they used to enjoy. (There are articles out there somewhere about this, but I can't find them.  If any readers know of some, please post a link in the comments!)

Privilege -- it used to mean preppies who went to Ivy League schools as "legacy" students, and could count on a trust fund if they didn't feel like working.  People like Trump and the Bush family.  But in post-modern America it means not having to worry about the kind of adversity that minorities and women face.  If the law has never considered people of your ilk "property," then you have privilege, and Bernie is talking to you.   I disagree with the overuse of the word but it's the only one we have.

Though Sanders talks about the poor, he's talking to people who think they deserve more.  This op-ed I randomly found via google news really hits the nail on the head:
If Sanders’ tying of political violence to “high-crime areas” were his only racially tinged remark, one might give it a pass. But he has a history.  There was his infamous waving-of-the-hand dismissal of Hillary Clinton’s commanding Southern victories, which were powered by African-American voters.
Black lives matter, and so do their votes.

* * * * * * *

But even though some writers on the web have expressed doubts, I haven't seen much about the bad online behavior of Sanders's devotees.  Rushing the stage in Nevada and making threatening calls to DNC leaders are not the problem.  The cultish tactics that led to it are.  In the time that I've been writing these posts, I've been pondering my next step with my friends.  I like these people but I don't like what they've become.  They pass along screen shots, memes, and links to videos that agree with them without looking into them at all, and a lot of them really don't pass the test.

One friend who used to post pictures of activities with her children now only posts about the campaign.  She is obsessed to the point of spelling Clinton's name "Clin" in order to keep the full name from becoming a trending topic on Facebook, as if that matters.  She's livid that the media won't be doing exit polls for California, because she needs to know when to suspect fraud. I wanted to assure her that she'll find something to get angry about without exit polls, but I try to be nice.   She's still phonebanking, calling people in other states, and brags about donating money. The last time she posted about one of her children was when she took him door-knocking with her for "family time."

If you have read my other posts, you know that my biggest pet peeve about religious zealotry is the harm done to children.  I have now broadened my anger to any zealotry that harms a child.  Children can't vote, and they can't consent to being made tools of politics any more than they can consent to religious ceremonies or being held up as examples of perfect babies at anti-abortion protests.  Arguing with me on Facebook was also taking time away from her family, so I have told Facebook to hide her posts.  I almost unfriended her but I decided to take this incremental step, because I believe in incremental steps (If you haven't argued with a Sanderite don't worry if you don't understand that last part).  If I don't like the way she's jettisoned her parental duties in favor of Sanders, I really can't be a part of that.  My other friends have started sharing Sanders stuff to my wall so I changed my Facebook setting to require approval.  I am trying to spend time away from the temptations of the internet, so by the time I check in, several people have piled on.  They are thoroughly devoted, as much as a Jehovah's Witness or Pentecostal preacher.  There's no getting through to them, and I have a real life that needs me.

"Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." -- Matthew, 10:37

And now back to the true purpose of the internet: puppies and kittens


Infidel753 said...

Based on your impressions, what proportion of Bernie supporters do you think are like this? If it's a small percentage, it won't ultimately matter -- there was the PUMA movement in 2008, but that wasn't big enough to change the election outcome. If it's a lot, we have a serious problem. Trump as President would be far more dangerous than McCain would have been.

I'm beginning to think Hillary will pretty much have to choose Elizabeth Warren as her running mate, to re-unify the party (most Bernie supporters are the kind of people who really wish Warren was running). Bernie himself wouldn't be practical as VP -- he's 75, too cantankerous, not enough of a team player, and he'd alienate too many centrist voters. Warren would bring the pluses without the minuses. If Trump wants to get snippy about an all-female ticket, he can go right ahead. How many all-male tickets has the country had?

LadyAtheist said...

Among my friends, the older ones who support Bernie are more moderate and have been registered democrats for a long time. One is married to a local woman who just recently won a local election here. My younger friends are the ones going off the rails, and one who immigrated here about 15 years ago but never paid attention to politics. That one is the craziest. She is an obsessive type anyway, but also has no real memory. She really thinks that letting Trump win and then trying again in 2020 is okay. I reminded her of 2000, when Nader said that both parties were the same, and then listed the things Bush2 did. She was impervious to that history lesson.

I agree about Bernie not being a good choice for VP. The VP has a role in Congress and would be expected to smooth things out behind the scenes. He doesn't have the temperament to be a peace-maker.

Anonymous said...

Bernie represents half the party.
Keep telling them they are STUPID for backing their candidate.

That will help us beat trump.

Who is on the hit parade for tomorrow's 15 minutes of hate/ get me clicks?

LadyAtheist said...

Bernie's supporters represent something less than half the party, but considering how many states he took that were caucuses or open primaries, and how many of them don't consider themselves Democrats, the true number could be much less.

They aren't stupid for backing him. They're irrational in their devotion and they are gullible. That's not the same as stupid.