Beating Back The Bern: Shilling For Hillary Clinton By Proxy

Something I’ve noticed in the past few days on social media is the backlash against Bernie Sanders supporters by certain “liberals.” To be clear, I put “liberals” in quotes because they are acting more like protectors of the establishment and not the liberals they claim to be. Hillary Clinton defenders are starting to “#FeelTheBern” and they are lashing out.

And they usually go out of their way to make it clear they have no problem with Bernie Sanders. They say their problem is with Bernie Sanders supporters, so-called  “Berniebots.” As we might expect, one of these Hillary Clinton defenders, lacking in self-awareness, wrote an article (“Ten honest questions I’d like every Bernie Sanders supporter to answer“) with the same level of condescension conservatives love to point out about liberals. To be clear, the title of this article plays into the smug and superior stereotype label that conservatives love to lob at liberals, and in this case, it would be well deserved.

photo by Phil Roeder via Flickr

photo by Phil Roeder via Flickr

First, and I must get this out-of-the-way, Hillary Clinton defenders can kiss my fucking ass. If these so-called liberals really believed in a true democratic process they would not be so quick to dismiss the expanding Republican field while condescending to Bernie Sanders supporters. No, Bernie Sanders is no more the next “Messiah” than Hillary Clinton is heir apparent, and your presumption that fellow liberals cannot honestly support a different candidate might just be the quintessential definition of smugness.

Second, and I must also get this out-of-the-way, Hillary Clinton defenders can kiss my fucking ass again.

So, let’s tackle these “Ten honest questions” one-by-one.

1. If Elizabeth Warren were in the race, most of you would be supporting her instead. If neither Warren nor Bernie were in the race, most of you would be supporting Martin O’Malley despite knowing nothing about him. How are we supposed to take your endorsement of Bernie seriously when you appear to be simply backing him because he’s not Hillary?

I’m afraid these “ten honest questions” already reek of dishonesty and false narratives right from the go. So, you set up a presumptive premise to facilitate the first of your “honest” questions? When you return to reality, I’ll remind you that my seriousness when it comes to my support of Bernie Sanders is not contingent on satisfying your curiosity.

2. Do you honestly believe that Bernie would do well with foreign policy? Do you think he’d really be able to get congressmen of either party to vote for any of his initiatives once they see that he’s not willing to compromise even a little? Are you envisioning a scenario in which President Bernie would be able to get anything accomplished at all? Even his most prominent supporters like Noam Chomsky have acknowledged he would get nothing done in office. Are you so enamored with the very idea of a protest candidate winning, you wouldn’t care that he’d be ineffective?

I see the “ten” in “ten honest questions” is not to be taken literally, as we have four questions masquerading as “honest” question number two. One could have asked (and Fox News pundits did on a daily basis) the same question about foreign policy when it came to Barack Obama back in 2008. So, while this can be a legitimate question, the way it’s phrased here plays as more a shill for Hillary than an “honest” question.

In case you hadn’t noticed, Bernie Sanders is running as a Democrat and he has caucused with Democrats as an Independent Senator. So, yes, I think he can get support from Democrats. As for support from Republicans, I think Mitch McConnell said it best when he said, “The single most important thing we [Republicans] want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” So, I’m not going to sweat the level of support congressional Republicans show for Bernie Sanders, and it certainly won’t inform my support for said candidate.

Oh, and I’m not “enamored” by the idea of a “protest candidate.”  I’ll save that for Donald Trump supporters. I’ve been a fan of Sanders for some time, and have said to people on multiple occasions that I’ve never heard him say something that I didn’t agree with. You can dismiss my vote as a protest candidate vote, but that would still leave you wrong.

3. Are you unable to understand national polls, or do you just like to ignore them because they reveal that your guy is losing by thirty-eight points within his own party?

This question falls into the “Bill O’Reilly” class of “honest” questions. Let me demonstrate: Bill O’Reilly has high ratings, therefore his opinion is correct. Hillary Clinton has high poll numbers (well, maybe not as high as they once were), so she is obviously the correct candidate, and the only candidate Democrats and liberals should be supporting. — Why did I even respond to this “honest” question? I wish I could get the last few seconds of my life back.

4. Are you under the impression that the people showing up to Bernie’s rallies each get more than one vote? Is that how you think he closes the gap? Or have you intentionally saturated yourself so thoroughly with people voting for your guy that you’ve honestly forgotten the vast majority of the nation says they favor someone else?

Wait, didn’t I just respond to this? Was “honest” question number three so poignant it need be asked again, only with a slightly different angle? No, Bernie closes the gap the same way Obama closed the gap in 2008 or any other candidate closes the gap, by campaigning over the next…wait for it…15 months. I have an honest question for you: Do you know polls don’t matter this far out from election day?

5. Do you understand that Bernie’s refusal to take traditional SuperPAC money means that even if he did get the nomination, he’d be outspent ten to one by his republican opponent? Are you aware that moderates and undecideds make their decisions based primarily on television ads, which are the most expensive part of any campaign? Do you get that nearly every ad would be for the republican? Do you get that he’d almost certainly lose? Would you really rather Bernie get the nomination and lose, than Hillary get the nomination and win? Because that’s how it looks to the rest of us.

Again, how many questions are there in this ten question article? At least this “honest” question has a basis in reality. I do see the lopsided money as an issue, but we also have to remind ourselves that if Sanders were to get the nomination, all liberal and Democratic resources would then be channeled into his run for president. Whether Sanders accepts traditional SuperPAC money or not, it’s not like the money well will run dry. And no, I would not “really rather” Bernie get the nomination and lose if Hillary got the nomination and won, but that presumes we get the benefit of knowing Hillary would win. Do I think at this moment Bernie is the stronger contender in the general election? No. Do I know he can’t be a year from now? No.

6. Why do you spend more time pushing crazy lies about Hillary than you do talking up Bernie’s ideas? Bernie himself has made it clear that he thinks highly of Hillary, and he scolds any reporters who try to get him to trash her. If you’re primarily supporting him because you think lowly of her, have you considered the extent of the disconnect between you and your candidate? Has it occurred to you that if Bernie heard you talking about Hillary the way you talk about her, he’d angrily tell you off?

This question does the same thing that all questions have done before it…generalize. I haven’t spent any time “pushing crazy lies about Hillary.” I have a feeling your distaste for any Clinton criticism makes you believe someone like me is an aberration among Sanders supporters. I don’t think I am.

7. Do you really think that Bernie’s strong showing in New Hampshire, a tiny state five minutes from where he lives, where he’s been locally popular for decades, is representative of the nation? Do you really think that New Hampshire’s four electoral votes will make a difference in this primary? And again, do you not know how to read national polls, or do you just like ignoring them because those polls reveal that your guy’s candidacy is already finished?

Okay, at this point these “honest” questions are less about honesty, more about belittling and insulting one’s intelligence. This time I’ll save that for Donald Trump himself. Again, I turn the question back on you. Do you really think the showing of any poll 15 months from election day is a strong predictor of election night results? Asking these types of questions about polls this far out from election day is what one does when one does not have anymore “honest” questions left in the tank.

8. Do you get that you’re supporting Bernie for essentially the same reason that conservatives are supporting Donald Trump? Do you realize that both men are basing their campaigns entirely on “government sucks, the system sucks, both parties suck, politicians are idiots and a trained rat could do better, and I’m just that trained rat.” Do you not understand the parallels between your desire to stomp your feet at Bernie’s generic indignance, and conservatives’s desire to stomp their feet at Trump’s generic indignance? Does that not embarrass you?

See, we can all play this bullshit game… Do you get that you’re supporting Hillary Clinton for essentially the same reason that conservatives supported Mitt Romney in 2012? Does that not embarrass you? — Of course, those questions are bullshit, just as your questions are bullshit. The further we read into these ten honest questions for Bernie Sanders supporters, the more we learn they are instead a series of rationalizations for supporting the establishment candidate. To equate Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump as representing essentially the same thing to their respective supporters is ignorant.

9. Most of you supporting Bernie are also fans of Obama. Seeing how Obama has all but endorsed Hillary, and how Obama sees her as his natural successor, don’t you find it odd that you’re instead rooting against her – even as you still try to take credit for supporting Obama? How does that make you any different from the republicans who try to take credit for Obama’s accomplishments while insisting he should be replaced by republican?

This question should be dismissed after the first three words. “Most of you” is a pejorative way to address people. As for the substance of this question, I say this: I don’t blindly support Obama. I have a series of things I support and a series of things I don’t support. When it comes to Bernie Sanders, there’s little if anything that he has articulated so far that I don’t support. That means Bernie Sanders is more aligned with my worldview, hence why I support Bernie Sanders. And the last time I checked, I didn’t need to get approval from President Obama, Hillary Clinton, or even you. I don’t have to vote for the next president based on a sense of loyalty to the current president (who I voted for). A civics lesson is needed if you believe democratic elections should be based on party or candidate loyalty and not the issues.

10. And the only question that truly matters: when Hillary becomes the democratic party nominee, will you pout and stay home on election day and hand the nation back to the republicans? Or will you show up and vote for Hillary because you know she’s the far better of the two candidates? While none of us understand why you’re supporting a less-qualified protest candidate whose ideas aren’t realistic and who can’t win anyway, we’re really only going to judge you based on what you do on election day. So when it’s Hillary vs Jeb TrumpCruz, what’s it going to be?

I praise you on your openness as a Hillary Clinton shill, or at the very least on your continued appeasement of the beltway establishment. Hell, why go for idealism based on sound reasoning when we can instead go for establishment-backed convenience? I think you already know the answer to this last bullshit question. Of course the people energized to give a shit at this point in the election cycle are likely to vote, even if their preferred candidate is not on the ballot. And of course those on the left who are supporting Sanders are likely to vote for Clinton if she’s the Democratic candidate. But even if we allow for a few Sanders supporters who would not ultimately vote for Hillary, I hate to break it to you, but they were never going to vote for Hillary even if Sanders did not get into the race.

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