Sexism in the Bernie Sanders’ Campaign: It’s Time the Misogynists Start Listening and Stop Talking
It has become clear to me that Bernie Sanders and many of his biggest supporters are doing their best to imitate Hillary Clinton and the many people who supported her during her 2008 and 2016 presidential run. Just like her supporters, Bernie Sanders biggest fans somehow think a winning strategy is to shove their candidate down everyone’s throat. In 2016, it was clear that Hillary Clinton supporters were outraged at the fact others decided to run in the Democratic Primary. As 2020 approaches, we have seen many Bernie Sanders supporters quickly denounce anyone else who is considering running.
Now, I must confess that I’m not too excited about any candidate in any election. I think people who want to consider themselves radical activists should be pretty wary of electoral politics and the obsession that often follows. And to be fair, Bernie Sanders has also experienced many unjustified attacks. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to give the people who want Bernie to run so badly some wise advice — you’re not helping him. Grassroots activists have been denouncing politicians like Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren for some time now but it seems that the only thing that can make them the enemy to the Bernie wing is having the the audacity to have their own own political aspirations.
Any action can be overlooked by any politician, as long as they endorsed Bernie for president in 2016 and/or will do the same in 2020. One starts to wonder how defensive Bernie progressives would have been concerning Al Franken’s resignation if Franken had decided to endorse Bernie in 2016. The irony is when I criticized Bernie Sanders for endorsing de Blasio and for him staying silent about the atrocities the NYC mayor has committed regarding NYCHA, Bernie followers will do mental backflips to justify it. Apparently, when Bernie Sanders plays the game, it’s understandable but when Warren does it, it’s indefensible.
Of course, the reality is many Bernie followers are starting to care less and less about justice. The only thing they care about is winning and making sure anyone who criticizes Bernie pays for it. Like Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, the hypocrisy may wind up dooming the campaign. When someone seems to only care if someone is supporting Bernie Sanders in 2020, they are implicitly telling you that all other issues and priorities are secondary. In other words, they expect all our priorities to revolve around Bernie. When someone thinks every accusation and critique towards Sanders and his campaign is part of some political witch-hunt, you make campaigning and voting for Bernie less appealing. The message they are conveying repeatedly is more likely to nauseate voters than win them over.
Is it so hard to simply admit Bernie Sanders continues to dismiss and trivialize the kind of pervasive sexism that numerous campaign staff and volunteers saw in 2016? Do we really think that staying silent after the numerous accusations came forward publicly against Arturo Carmona over a year ago was morally acceptable? Do we really believe that Bernie Sanders and Jane Sanders inviting Arturo Carmona to the Sanders Institute Gathering would not anger some of his former staffers? Do we think the fact that Rich Pelletier is currently working for Organizing for Sanders is reassuring? Do we think Bernie’s interview with CNN regarding the sexism that existed in his campaign was somehow not offensive?
But like Hillary Clinton supporters in 2016, and 2008, rational thinking has gone completely out the window. When Andy King and Jeff Klein faced accusations of sexual harassment, we were expected to denounce them and call for their resignations. When staff came forward to discuss the kind of sexism that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign swept under the rug, we were expected to express outrage. But when the issue concerns Bernie Sanders’ campaign, a bunch of so-called feminists suddenly start seeing the motives of the accusers differently. They do not believe that the accusers genuinely want political campaigns and politicians to stop harming people and taking advantage of their privilege and power. Instead, they start arguing it’s all a smear campaign. What exactly makes Bernie supporters who do such mental backflips any different than Trump, Clinton or Biden supporters? Apparently, the accusers only have a right to be believed when it’s politically convenient for your preferred candidate. Instead of just acknowledging the situation, we have Bernie Sanders supporters bullying the accusers, calling them every name in the book and denouncing anyone who tries to broach this topic as saboteurs.
And here’s the irony. If Bernie Sanders decides to run in 2020, the saboteurs will be the sexists and racists who were so unbelievably obsessed with Bernie Sanders, that they were quicker to defend the accused than the accusers. And let’s be honest. This is not some unique experience. Despite how many times the grassroots radicals on the Far Left discuss the pervasiveness of racism and sexism they see in this so-called “progressive” movement, Bernie Sanders biggest followers refuse to address it. How many women from Sanders’ campaign have to come forward to stop so much of the Left for thinking it’s a charade or that the accusers are delusional? Is this article sufficient? How about this one? Or this one? How many people in the African-American community have to speak about the racism that exists in “progressive” cities like Seattle and Portland for people to stop telling black people that they should just be grateful for progressives like Bernie Sanders? The “progressive” record has shoved one awful candidate after another down our throat (de Blasio, O’Malley and Obama, to name a few) and yet, they still think they are always and forever right.
It is also worth mentioning that I have found in my experience that the biggest die-hard Bernie fans who become so defensive of the slightest criticism of Bernie Sanders are often the people who did the bare minimum for Bernie in 2016. They will keep commenting on a negative Facebook post you wrote about Bernie until you become so exhausted that they get you to stop posting such things in the future. However, they do not seem to be the people whose signatures you’ll find on the bottom of the petitions to get Bernie on the ballot in NYS. They are not the people I remember seeing when I canvassed in this or that state.
It makes sense when you think about it. Unless you only did the bare minimum for the campaign, it would be pretty hard to be so dismissive to accusations of sexism because the people who were heavily involved saw it daily. In fact, if anything, I have found the people who were the ones who were the most deep in the trenches to be more supportive of the accusers. I mean, there’s something odd when a bunch of people who worked as higher-ups on the campaign or were Sanders’ delegates are told by a bunch of people who we don’t remember seeing all too much in 2016 what happened on the campaign trail. Perhaps, the ones who have become so defensive and upset about these criticisms towards Bernie’s 2016 campaign should be under suspicion of being secret operatives themselves; maybe they’re the ones trying to sabotage Bernie’s 2020 campaign?
After all, anyone who knew any of these campaign staffers would know that the accused that people are disgracefully defending were the kind of people who would do everything in their power to actually undermine Bernie’s campaign. We lost talented people because being constantly demeaned and objectified wasn’t exactly an enjoyable experience for volunteers and staff. The people being painted in this bad light are the same people who stole campaign funds, took credit for other people’s work, and actually did little work on the themselves. More often than not, they cared about self-promotion and career opportunity and you know what the sad part is — it worked. In 2008, Hillary Clinton surrounded herself with campaign advisors that were toxic. Bernie surrounded himself with some really polarizing and incompetent advisors in 2008 and the people who were terminated were often the ones trying to stop these advisors from continuing to hurt others, and the campaign as a whole.
So let all the Bernie lovers (and Bernie himself) follow the most basic request as the 2020 presidential election nears — talk less, a lot less, and listen a lot more. Because people aren’t going to want to hear how some of our most admired figures were clearly guilty of sexism (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, etc.) but apparently the idea that Bernie Sanders may be is impossible to fathom. So if you find yourself being dismissive about the accusations concerning Bernie Sanders’ 2008 campaign, and getting defensive when anyone calls you out for being a misogynist, just know that your presence on any political campaign for a progressive candidate is not welcomed.
P.S. If you ever need to better understand why someone is reluctant to come forward about sexual harassment in the workplace, I encourage you to read a typical Facebook thread when someone posts an article concerning the kind of sexual harassment and assault that occurred on the Bernie Sanders’ presidential 2016 campaign. You will quickly see a bunch of so-called progressive feminists react with the kind of callousness and chauvinism that is not limited to social media; the atmosphere you see on Facebook should remind people that it is often not much different in the workplace, even workplaces that should be most politically sensitive to such accusations. The sad reality is the victims and accusers justifiably have no confidence that bad people will be held accountable by coming forward.
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