For those of you who have survived my Facebook posts, brace yourselves – this will be longer. There are actually some topics that don’t do well at 2 inches wide, considering the probable length.
In this case I’d like to point out the light and dark side of the force otherwise known as the Bernie phenomenon, and why it has a sort of intrinsic failure built in.
The light we all know, free college, expanded health care, spread the wealth, though even in the core Bernie message there is a lot of neg – corrupt wall street, “establishment” this and that.
But the dark side is quite pronounced among some of the faithful, mostly in terms of attacks on Hillary for alleged compromising relationships with wealth donors, corporate interests, and more vividly, baby killing , warmongering, etc.
I’m not making this up – to quote a recent post by Sam Farling:
“We Berners are pissed! And frankly, Hillary is the living embodiment of many of the things that we are pissed about: bought government leaders, corporate control of our destiny, empire, endless war, unfettered capitalism, fracking, GMO’s wealth disparity, etc.”
Another said that he “hated” Hillary
So, why is this a problem? And why may these people be the very reason that Bernie can’t win?
It’s a problem for several reasons. First of all the Sanders platform is a big ask, not so much in terms of the plank elements, but in terms of Bernie’s ability to deliver such legislation in the face of adamantine resistance. In order for the platform to hold, the revolution has to take hold of the majority of Americans. Anyone who thinks that is going to happen right away hasn’t visited rural Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana recently. And what about that former nation of its own, Texas? There’s not a lot of Rainbow coalition stuff going on in many parts of Texas. Not enough rain, I suppose.
And then there’s the Hillary stuff. A significant portion of the Bernies absolutely detest Hillary. They (dis)credit her with too much wealth (more on that later), all kinds of illegal dealings, sword rattling, etc. To a non-adherent, many of those claims look like simply that, self-serving claims. But many bernies will roll their eyes, call you idiotic, uninfomed, manipulated, etc. if you don’t join their “she’s guilty until proven innocent” ranks.
The problem with the prevalence of such self-confident, pre-judiced besmirching is that it calls all of the other bernie thought into question, i.e. – if this is the sort of speculative stuff that flourishes in the Bernie camp, are there other equally unsupported elements?
In fact, as stated, there is a strong vein of negativity throughout the Bernie thing, where money, “establishment”, wall street, etc. are all bad, corrupt, etc.
What does all that mean? It means that a whole section of society that has and wants success is called into doubt. There is a sense in the Bernies that “the system” is irrevocably broken and needs as if to be overthrown, or at least replaced. That’s what revolutions do, of course, and even though the Bernie thing is a sort of revolution-lite, there is still the flavor of rejection of the views and lifestyles of many people whom in the current system, are doing well, or at least trying to.
A lot of this seems to just be a form of wealth-envy. It reminds me of
“Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can’t get into it do that.”
― Oscar Wilde, – The Importance of Being Earnest
There are a lot of people who think that wealthy people must be corrupt, that they earned their money by stepping on other people, and don’t deserve it. In fact there is a great deal of envy for rich, famous, successful people, and a lot of that energy translates into bitter criticism and delight when those people fail in one way or another.
Hillary is wealthy. Not so wealthy as Trump, but she and Bill are doing well, thank-you.
And to many that is a negative.
But why not celebrate it? “Look, someone made a success of themselves! Great!”
Why not think that people that manage their lives and finances well might do well in public office?
Or maybe ask yourself why people who do well would want the aggravation of public office anyway? Maybe they want to do some good after all.
The crucial point here is that Bernie was, in a way, destined to fail, because his initiative is exclusive rather than inclusive. You are either with him or you are a stooge of the media, the DNC, the establishment.
A lot of people still want to get wealthy, though it may cause criticism, of course, to step out of the pack. A lot of people actually like going shopping, working, studying, trying to get ahead, and if that’s the establishment, what are they supposed to think?
You don’t see that character assassination and that exclusiveness in Hillary and her followers. Hillites don’t think Bernie is corrupt, a baby killer, etc. They don’t spend their time vilifying Bernie. They just don’t think he is the best woman for the job.
And they don’t think Bernie’s universe is big enough to deal meaningfully with the opposition. If Bernie’s people can’t stand Hillary, and ridicule her fans, how are they going to have a conversation with NRA lovers?
Hillary stands in the middle between extremist Demmies and a puzzling republican candidate.
Demonizing Hillary diminishes Bernies. Their world apparently doesn’t respect and include all Americans, just the ones who agree with them. That’s a form of intellectual fascism.
The same critique applies to Demmies who dismiss Trump and Republicans and neanderthals. Most republicans actually (I’m not making this up) think their views are the best thing for everyone.
In order to govern a country, one has to take many views into account.
Demonizing and belittling your opponents and their adherents is an exclusive as opposed to inclusive dialogue-generating strategy.
Too many Bernies have a simplistic view of how to fix a country, since, “Everyone should think like us or they are dumb bunnies” is a position unlikely to attract wide acceptance.
A revolution can be good, if you win. But even if you do, a lot of people end up unhappy, and mistakes are made.
Unless Bernie’s revolution catches on everywhere, and convinces not just a bunch of highly-evolved Democrats, first time voters, wealth-haters and sky-is-fallingites, but previously entrenched Republicans, or at least centrist Demmies, you have a failed strategy.
Hillary, on the other hand, the exasperating Libra (like Obama) force-balancer, is more inclusive, and therefore likely to attract more people who are marginally in support because at least she has the intention to listen to, consider, and serve all Americans.
Of course, she really can’t win the “moral” high ground against a candidate who either wins a caucus vote or “wuz robbed.”
To full tilt Bernies, it makes no sense for her to win due to their extreme (and unproven, frankly) biases against her, so the world only makes sense if she/the DNC cheated.
But the world doesn’t always make sense, your team loses a lot of the time.
And most of the time, on that given day, the opposition was simply better
Why is Hillary winning the nomination? Maybe just because she did better, was more organized and had a more believable and inclusive message, and the experience plus name recognition to back it up.
A tough pill for a Bernie to swallow, since, if we put all of your conspiracy theories aside, maybe you and Bernie are simply a bunch of losers. And many of you (but probably not Bernie himself) are poor losers.
Except for the great victory that you all represent in terms of moving the needle toward a more equitable, fair, inclusive, supportive, high-integrity society.
As an issues candidate, Bernie has already won.
And his victory, long term, will be in setting great things in motion, even for those people who his followers have disdained, including Hillary herself.
In fact, his real victory over Hillary (which she will never complain about) is to show her that a big chunk of society is ready for a better deal for all, and that too much caution and too much compromise can be a fault.
And if the Bernies eventually back her in moving toward that New New Deal rather than back-stab her, I think you will find that Bernie has the real victory after all, after all.