It’s Time for Bernie Sanders to Apologize to his Supporters, and to President Obama
By Sasha Stone and Ryan Adams
After two terms with a popular Democrat in the White House, the American people had a choice between going for change by electing an absurdly inexperienced man from the opposition party, or staying the course, which would have been a vote of confidence for the leadership achievements of the current commander in chief. That argument had to be made in order for the Democrats to win. But Bernie Sanders decided to run in opposition to the “Democratic establishment,” to make the case that they were doing it wrong. On the one side, Donald Trump was braying about “the failed policies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton,” and on the other side, Bernie Sanders was saying essentially the same thing.
As Sanders saw his chances fade and slip away, his attitude turned more desperate and his fury became much worse. Bewildered and indignant, his escalating attacks were not just directed against Hillary Clinton, not just against Obama, but against the Democratic party itself. He held his followers as collateral, as bargaining chips, and badgered the Democrats into changing their platform. That platform was already evolving to satisfy far left supporters, even if some of the shift risked alienating more moderate voters whose main concerns were lower taxes and a tougher stance against terrorism.
It was a dangerous game to play, and Bernie didn’t do it alone. Certainly Jill Stein shares much of the blame for sucking up the disillusioned refuse who turned against Bernie as quickly as they’d embraced him. Stein was busy running her own parallel campaign of resentment and hate. Not against Donald Trump and the Republicans, mind you, but against Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. Bernie had given them a reason to hate, then snatched away their favorite chew toy. Donald offered them a new place to hate Hillary. So did Jill Stein. By the end of the election it would take a village to bring down someone as smart and formidable as Hillary Clinton. We lost and we lost badly, just as Donald Trump warned us we would. There are many reasons why this happened — clever manipulation by Steve Bannon (who will be a one trick pony, mark my words), a difficult candidate to draw enthusiasm from some like Hillary Clinton was. The FBI, scared little men like Putin and Assange playing with their toy guns. We needed all hands on deck to pull out a win and we got exactly the opposite from our own side of the political spectrum.
Now, not only are the most vulnerable Americans going to suffer, not only are the middle class going to suffer, but foreign-born mothers and their American babies will be rounded up, entire families will be torn apart, and racist hatred will once again be the law of the land. America will burn through tons of fossil fuels with foolish abandon as the only advanced country on earth that officially denies climate change at the highest levels of government. It could not be more of a disaster.
And so I’m asking you Bernie Sanders, and you, Jill Stein and all of your followers who helped destroy everything Obama has sought to build these past 8 years, to apologize. Apologize to him because he deserves your apologies.
Apologize for disrupting the historic milestone of the first female nominee for President of the United States with threats and fears that your infantile little army would burn it down, boo and chant and hiss and spit. 30 million voters across America who tuned in to watch the convention in Philly had to witness the shameful travesty as proud liberal beacons like Cory Booker, the mother of Trayvon Martin, Joe Biden, Michelle Obama and even the president endured the fantasy football catcalls of your petulant monsters with ridiculous duct tape over their mouths, pretending they had been silenced. If only.
What was really behind all of that, Bernie? Why did you make your loyalists doubt that you really lost the primary? Why did you lie and let them think you could magically convince delegates switch their allegiance? Why did you give Trump everything he needed to fan the flames of a “rigged” election? Why did you sit there slumped in your seat when Hillary took to the stage, with that sulky look on your face of a man who’s lost his remote control. You did that. You did all of that. You did that and even today many of your followers STILL THINK the primary was rigged against you! How big is your ego that you could never bring yourself to admit, loudly and publicly, that Hillary Clinton beat you fair and square?
Now, we have to watch this remarkable man, President Obama, our country’s first African American president, sit patiently in the Oval Office with the fidgety and clearly frightened clown who led the despicable birther conspiracy against him. Worse, he has to SHOW HIM HOW TO DO THE JOB. It worse than that, way way worse than that but you could have, at the very least, spared him that humiliation, spared him having the hand over his successful presidency with the highest approval ratings since Reagan to a party that did nothing but try to stomp him out for eight years, shout “you lie” while gave a State of the Union address, refuse to even look at his budget or his Supreme Court justice nominee. You lost that war for us and for him.
You must apologize for taking for granted the progress Obama made for 20 million uninsured Americans with the Affordable Care Act, the stringent environmental regulations he put in place, the many ways he tried to turn things around after Bush tanked the global economy, and his tireless efforts to work with both parties on Capitol Hill. ALL OF THAT IS NOW GONE. And if you and your followers are waiting for a revolution where you can finally have your “free college” and “free healthcare” that shit is done too. DONE. Student loan reform, done. Over. Wall Street regulations, done. Over. Environmental protections, done, over.
The Republicans have vowed to erase President Obama’s entire presidency. You must apologize for what you’ve done, loudly and publicly so that your followers can understand just how bad this is and how they themselves helped it happen. Apologize even if after an awkward meeting with President Obama you finally agreed to turn your fast moving train around and reluctantly support Hillary Clinton. You had to be BOOED BY YOUR FELLOW SENATORS to do this. And it came altogether too late. You know it, we know it.
It was bad enough when the sickest Republicans treated The President like he was a Muslim mole and did everything in their power to denigrate, diminish and literally demonize him. It was EVEN WORSE when you, Bernie Sanders, tried to do the very same thing, when your entire primary gambit was based on undermining the president and his chosen successor.
You must apologize for now lamely saying that the “middle class is hurting” and floating the idiotic falsehood that “Democrats didn’t connect with the working class” — implying that you could or ever did. Insinuating with your pissy little tweets that we lost because the president and the Democratic party abandoned the common man. As if, Bernie! AS IF! Did you really have to help the Republicans make their argument that Obama’s presidency has been a failure? What is wrong with your soul that you would do something like that.
The hatred for Hillary Clinton, awash in misogyny and mass hysteria, that festered among your most virulent “Bernie of Bust” followers was bigger than their concern for the millions of undocumented workers and their families. Fuck those terrified children of recent immigrants, right? As long as it isn’t the sea of white college kids at your rallies who now face mass deportation.
Their hatred of HER was bigger than the ominous reality that police will now have free reign and full presidential support to shoot any person they deem a “thug.” We’ll see raids by immigration forces in minority neighborhoods to check the papers of anyone who looks suspiciously not-white. Irrational and counterproductive profiling tactics like “stop and frisk” will become law of the land.
Your supporters hatred FOR HER was bigger than the rights of all women, whose bodies, personal integrity, and physical safety are now officially fair game for violation and disrespect — whose right to object whenever an entitled buffoon tries to grab their pussy, whenever a goon gets an urge to fucking grab it, has now been nullified. All that is less important to your followers, and those of professional mean-girl Jill Stein, than their collective hatred of Hillary Clinton.
We take no pleasure in knowing that you have to live with all this. But sooner or later the haze of hysteria is going to evaporate off your stupid followers like the stale odor of cheap air-freshener. So what you need to do now, Bernie, is make one thing right and you’re quickly running out of time to do it.
Whatever 11th-hour chance we once had to slow and reverse catastrophic climate change is gone. It’s fucking GONE, Bernie. You owe the President an apology. You owe your followers, especially the young ones, an apology. You owe it to them to set them straight about what really happened. You can keep faking it if you want, but eventually this truth will out. You owe it to them, Susan Sarandon owes it to them, Jill Stein owes it to them to speak the truth about what a vote means and what it doesn’t mean. You urged them not to use their protest vote but they did not listen to you. Whatever you taught them about the government it did not work in their own best interests. You owe them an apology. This is not the time to take an “I told you so” victory lap. Their generation now has permanent obstacles in its way. You want to talk about the middle class being screwed? How about the millennials who will one day inherit this nation? They’re screwed too.
Americans now stand on a terrifying threshold as we prepare to enter the worst place we’ve ever been in my lifetime. We could have held onto our essential position if a fair fight had continued, a balanced war between us and them. But we showed up to battle on Election Day with half of our soldiers dropping their weapons and walking away, forgetting what this fight has been about all along
You, Bernie Sanders (and you too, Jill Stein), and all of the insipid little extremist morons who collectively clung to you, refused to help support Hillary Clinton, and tried to shame one of the most dignified and successful Democratic presidents this country has ever known. And worse than that, you continually attacked — and still attack — STILL — the one person on the ballot who stood between everything we hold dear about our country and the unthinkable specter of Trump’s depraved vision for our future. He promises to make America great again for the 60 million who fell for his scam, at the expense of making America bleak again for the other 250 million of us. We nearly had enough votes to stop him but you carved our margin of victory away, and for that you must apologize
Trump and his team of racist, antisemitic, homophobic misogynists plan to eviscerate President Obama’s entire legacy. They want to pretend he never happened, scrub his many achievements from the history books, act like the United States never elected our first black president, forget that this president was extraordinarily popular, that he ran and won and then did it again with a second term, against all odds — all of which once seemed an impossible prospect when he first rose to fight for us in 2008. You, Uncle Bernie and Dr Jill, taught your followers that nothing President Obama did really mattered, because nothing he did was good enough, none of it passed your precious purity test. You did that, Bernie. You misled and then demoralized our warriors. Sure, when it finally dawned on you that we had been pushed to the precipice, you tried to turn it around. But by then it was too late. You know it. We know it.
There’s only one way left to redeem your reprehensible place in history. One last shot to do what you surely know is right. It’s time for you to apologize to the President of the United States for what you’ve done.