I really wish I could not write about Bernie Sanders. I would love for the self-aggrandizing not-a-Democrat to just crawl back up to Vermont. He’d do a lot less damage to the Democratic Party and, more broadly, the progressive movement, that way.
His vision of “progressivism” is solely centered around “economic justice” — “economic justice” mainly for men, it would seem. As he did during the campaign, Sanders seems to dismiss reproductive rights as social issues, even though access to birth control and safe, legal abortion helps lift women out of poverty and keep them out. How else to explain his original shrugging dismissal of a Georgia candidate as “not progressive enough” while he embraced a legislator who has supported legislation that would require women to view ultrasounds before they get abortions? [Sanders has since released a statement saying how vital Jon Ossoff is in Georgia. Forgive my cynicism, but he only did this after he was hit with a fireball of criticism.]
Maybe if we convince Bernie that reproductive rights benefit men as well as women (men in families where they are barely making ends meet need their wives to have access to healthcare and abortion, as well) he might be sure to only support pro-choice candidates? Nah. It still affects primarily women.
It’s only a social issue. Progressives really care about economic issues.
Sanders seems to think he is the sole arbiter of what properly “progressive” means, while tossing half of the population of the country — the world — under the bus. I don’t give a damn how pro-choice you proclaim yourself on your website, if you support candidates who place unreasonable and burdensome conditions on a woman’s right to choose, you have no right to call yourself a progressive, let alone lecture others how they aren’t progressive enough.
Of course, Bernie is only a career politician from a tiny state with no large cities. He is never going to have the same intrinsic understanding of many people’s lives that, say, Maxine Waters or Cory Booker has.
Add to this that the people he is lecturing have been members of the Democratic Party for decades, while he only deigned to join when he could use the party to run for president. The fact that he was using (in the worst sense of the word) the Democratic Party notwithstanding, he spent a lot of time on the campaign trail sneering at us. Quite the opportunist, our Bernie.
Hell, even now he says he’s not a Democrat. Well, then, he should just leave the party the hell alone, not be feted by certain segments as the second coming of RFK. He says the Republicans did not win the election, the Democrats lost it. He ignores the effect of the director of the FBI trashing Hillary Clinton only days before the election, and the interference by the Russians in our electoral process (possibly colluding with the Trump campaign), or even — or most especially — the role some of his more rabid followers played by voting for Trump or that other Russian stooge, Jill Stein.*
He especially ignores the damage he did to the Democratic Party, first by turning the emphasis from issues into character (even though he said he wasn’t going to do that), and secondly — and worse — by keeping hope alive for his supporters even when there was no chance — other than an outlandish mathematical one — of his winning the nomination. The fact that he (and they) counted on locking up most of the superdelegates after railing about how unfair they were early on simply adds a level of bitter hypocrisy.** “Let the people decide!” he said at the beginning. “We can win this if most of the superdelegates support me!” he said at the end. The people did decide — and they decided “Hillary” (or at least “Not Bernie”).
There have been senators and representatives, not to mention other politicians and elected officials, who have been members of the Democratic Party for ages, progressives toiling in the shadows, who don’t attract the often uncritical (sometimes fawning) press that he does. They’re the heroes, not him.
*I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the ridiculous Bernie supporters who claim either that 1) their vote for Trump or Stein didn’t make much difference or 2) Bernie would have won. Yes, it did, even in a blue state — how many of your friends did you talk to across the country about the election and on how many blogs did you rant in the comment section? No, he couldn’t have — if America had trouble electing a woman or a Democrat, they sure were not going to go for a Socialist with issues of personal morality in his past. The only reason the Republicans seemed to almost embrace him during the primary while attacking Clinton is that they wanted him to be the nominee, so they could stomp him like a grape come November. Of course, we wanted Trump for the same reason, but then again Bernie wasn’t colluding with the Russians. As far as Stein being a Russian stooge…. There is a picture of former National Intelligence Director Michael Flynn at a dinner with Vladimir Putin. Stein is seated at the same table.
**And, lest we forget, it was the sainted Bernie’s campaign that accessed Clinton campaign information without authorization. The DNC might have overreacted, but the Sanders campaign committed the original breach.