Diane Roberts: Bernie Sanders, stop trashing Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party

Bernie Sanders

The Bern? Duly felt. Duly appreciated. Sen. Sanders has put inequality where it belongs, in the center of the American conversation.

He has energized hundreds of thousands of young people who’ve never felt a part of the political process and gotten America to revisit such “socialist” ideals as universal health care, universal education, and healthy skepticism of profit über alles.

But Sanders needs to cut out the tantrums. Hillary Clinton is not the enemy. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is not the enemy, though yes, she’s pro-Clinton and yes, she screwed up the Democratic debate schedule, and yes, she presided over massive Democratic election losses in 2014. She’s incompetent, not evil.

Evil is Donald Trump and his snarling Make America White Again dead-enders.

I don’t mind Sanders endorsing Wasserman Schultz’s primary opponent, though it’s a bit petty. And I don’t think Sanders should drop out of the race, even though he almost certainly can’t win. He should stick around as long as he likes. Make his best case. Make the platform more progressive.

Just stop trashing Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party.

Sanders complains that Hillary Clinton is a Wall Street enabler. Plus, she voted for the Iraq War in 2003. She now admits she was wrong, but Bernie was against the War from the beginning.

In Bernie-logic, that means he’s a way better person than she is. The superdelegates in states he won should vote for him. That’s only fair, right? The other superdelegates in states he lost should vote for him, too. Because the system is rigged.

And Hillary voted for the Iraq War.

If Bernie doesn’t get his way, he’ll hold his breath till he turns blue and scream until he’s sick. Things got testy at the Nevada Democratic Convention, where Sanders’ people accused party officials of declaring 64 of their delegates ineligible. In fact, most of those had not registered as Democrats by the May 1 deadline.

Pro tip, Berners: if you want to participate in the Democratic primary, and go to a Democratic convention, it helps to actually be a Democrat.

While furniture was not, despite earlier reports, hurled around, some Sanders supporters called and texted state Chairwoman Roberta Lange, labeling her a “corrupt bitch” (and worse), hoping she’d be “publicly executed.” One said: “Praying to god someone shoots you in the FACE “and blows your democracy-stealing head off!”

I would not describe that as comradely behavior.

Jezebel contacted some of the people who threatened Lange and — wouldn’t you know it? — they turned out to be Bernie-Bros taken aback at being forced to explain what they did.

One guy insisted he’s harmless: “I created a character, a scary — kind of a Jason kind of character.” Another claimed, “I don’t personally have anything against anybody. I never had any intentions of any negative actions or anything like that.”

Yeah, nothing “negative” about calling someone a “corrupt bitch” or saying, “We will hurt you” and “We know where your grandkids go to school.”

Let’s be fair: these are “Bernie-or-Bust” supporters, not the Sanders campaign itself. They know that despite all the bluster, Clinton has received three million more votes than Sanders. Even if Sanders was awarded all the superdelegates in states he won, she’d still beat him.

This is the way it works, guys: you vote, and somebody wins. And somebody loses.

Sanders has long been a principled politician, a brave Socialist in a country terrified of the very word, constantly reminding the country that we must work for justice and equal opportunity. Unfortunately, he’s getting bitter and petulant. He’s starting to sound entitled, as if America owes him something.

One of his senior advisers told The New York Times the campaign doesn’t care if they damage Clinton. The Revolution is the only thing that matters. If the nominating convention in Philadelphia turns vicious, it’ll be the fault of those Hillaryites who don’t understand what’s good for America.

If Trump gets elected, well, that will teach us all to ignore a guy who had huge rallies in college towns.

Politics in a democracy is about what’s possible, not what’s ideal. Hillary Clinton is not ideal. I’ve got problems with her urge to intervene militarily, her debilitating caution, her lack of an inspiring message.

Nevertheless, barring something cataclysmic (alien invasion?) she’ll be the nominee. And even with her shortcomings, I’d prefer her Supreme Court picks to Donald Trump’s. She will do something about climate change; he won’t. She gives a damn about the poor; he doesn’t. She’s sane; he’s a raging narcissist and pathological liar who thinks money is a mark of divine favor.

Bernie Sanders needs to stop acting like a brat. It’s unbecoming. It’s Trumpish. He’s better than that.

I hope.


Diane Roberts is the author of “Tribal: College football and the secret heart of America.” She teaches at Florida State University.


Diane Roberts

Diane Roberts teaches at Florida State University. Her latest book, “Tribal: College Football and the Secret Heart of America,” will be out in paperback in the fall.

One comment

  • Nathan Hirsch

    May 26, 2016 at 4:14 am

    I believe you are forgetting a rather important detail. The Democratic Party Primary Election has been very undemocratic, and that is what Sanders supporters are rightfully angry about. The fact that the DNC favors Clinton, the fact that voter fraud, voter purging, and a whole array of mysterious irregularities that prevented voters from exercising their right to vote are serious issues. In my book, if you steal my vote, you are an enemy.

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