Something we can be proud of

  • I live about a half-hour away from my mom and two brothers, so I don’t see them that often, but we keep in regular contact. Since October — or thereabouts — my older brother (Robby) and I have spent countless hours hashing and rehashing over politics, starting with ISIS and what’s going on in the world all the way to what’s happening in the U.S. and the upcoming election. It should be no surprise to any of you reading — if you have read this blog before — that we are both Bernie Sanders supporters, and part of the million-plus Americans who have donated to his campaign.
  • Last time Robby and I spoke in person was a couple weeks ago, in their backyard. Filled with optimism for the Iowa caucuses, we got down to the root of why 2016 is such a big election: Posterity. We believe, even though I’m suddenly uncomfortable dragging Robby in as part of this we, that the 2016 election is something we can look back on in 20 or 30 years as a turning point, as something we can be proud of. That’s how strong (we think) this moment is.
  • So, sure, it is discouraging to see how much the media proactively downplays Bernie Sanders’ message. If you tune in to any of the major networks, from FOX News to CNN to MSNBC and beyond, and really listen to the smut, you would think Bernie’s only supporters are people like my brother and I: Young (18-29), white, male, and liberal. The media has yet to acknowledge Sanders as a legitimate candidate, if for nothing else that they don’t want the burden of being the legitimizers to an otherwise pacified audience.
  • But that demographic is true. Young voters don’t just lean in Bernie Sanders’s direction, they hold down the whole fucking scale. According to CNN’s exit poll from Bernie’s 22-point blowout victory in the New Hampshire primary, a whopping 83% of 18-29 year-olds voted for Sanders, while just 16% voted for Hillary Clinton. Perhaps even more noteworthy was Bernie’s 11-point advantage among New Hampshire women, a demographic you’d think Hillary has the edge in by default.
  • And I get it. It’s New Hampshire. This is one of the whitest states on the map, and Sanders is the senator of its neighboring Vermont. This was a primary Bernie was supposed to destroy. But still. What can we take from this? These are, after all, real votes.
  • Things are going to get tougher for Sanders. Following strong showings in two heavily white states, the DNC moves next to Nevada and South Carolina, two electorates featuring a more realistic blend of black and hispanic voters, of whom Clinton has held a 2:1 advantage to this point.
  • That, in a nutshell, is the new narrative.
  • First the media said Bernie Sanders couldn’t compete with Hillary Clinton, and that she would waltz to the Democratic nomination and into the white house as the first woman president. Okay. Fine.
  • Next they said, yeah, Bernie has a following, but he isn’t electable. A tie in Iowa and a lopsided 60.4%-38.0% finish in New Hampshire later and… now the media says those were white states and he’s going to get crushed in Nevada and South Carolina because, oh no, Sanders hasn’t proven he can attract the necessary minority support.
  • All I’m saying is I’ll believe it when I see it.

I cannot tell you the number of people who have commented to me on social media that they don’t understand this [Clinton] support. “Don’t black folks understand that Bernie best represents their interests?” the argument generally goes. But from there, it can lead to a comparison between Sanders and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; to an assertion that Sanders is the Barack Obama that we really wanted and needed; to an exasperated “black people are voting against their interests” stance.

If only black people knew more, understood better, where the candidates stood — now and over their lifetimes — they would make a better choice, the right choice. The level of condescension in these comments is staggering. […]

Tucked among all this Bernie-splaining by some supporters, it appears to me, is a not-so-subtle, not-so-innocuous savior syndrome and paternalistic patronage that I find so grossly offensive that it boggles the mind that such language should emanate from the mouths — or keyboards — of supposed progressives.

  • Invisible social media commenters are convenient for this article, particularly since they are (a) Bernie Sanders supporters, (b) white and (c) obliviously condescending towards black voters.
  • Hillary Clinton and her surrogates’ attempted “Bernie Bro’s” smear didn’t work, as Glen Greenwald laid out in The Intercept. And this is basically the same play on a different demographic. Rather than calling Sanders supporters “misogynist” or “sexist,” now the media is saying they are insensitive to the plight of African-Americans.
  • Whatever it takes, I guess.
  • Let us not be mistaken by how this DNC nomination process has hitherto unfolded. From the fact that the head of the DNC — Debbie Wasserman-Shultz — is a former co-chair to the Hillary Clinton campaign, orchestrating low-visibility debates and town hall-style events to ensure Bernie’s message would be kept contained. Hillary Clinton has lied about Sanders’s new health care plan and exaggerated his gun record. It’s impossible to know what Bernie’s ceiling is, simply because he is so much less accessible.
  • We also can’t forget the media’s role in this. It’s understood that major networks, purely for business reasons, would rather see Clinton as the next president. Its portrayal of Bernie’s “socialist” and “radical” ideas — such as single-payer health care, free tuition for public universities, raising the minimum wage to a $15 an hour, taxing the billionaire class — has been disgusting. But we should expect nothing less and, in fact, it only figures to get nastier from here.
  • With the Democratic and media establishments against him, it’s understood that this was going to be an uphill battle from the get-go. There was a time you could get +1000 (10-to-1) on your money for Bernie Sanders being the Democratic nominee in the 2016 election; now it’s a mere +250 (2.5-to-1). No one expected this. Not even Bernie.
  • So it’s my argument, and it’s been my argument, that Sanders is absolutely the right choice, whether or not people admit it. I make about three times the annual national average; I am not sitting on my ass trying to collect as much free shit as I can, like the fallacy goes with big government. I have substantial college debt that I’m paying on, and in about a month when I turn 26, I will no longer be on my parents’ healthcare. I am part of several statistics of Americans, counting in the tens of millions, who are affected by such issues. And many others have children or brothers or sisters who are going through the same cycle.
  • It’s a fact that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will help the economy.  Some still feel like it will be the death of small business, which is nonsense. There is logic to consider: If everyone is making $15 an hour, there will be more business to compensate for the wages, because there will be more money in circulation. Sure, we might have to pay 5% or 10% more in taxes, but Americans will end up saving money because they won’t be paying expensive healthcare premiums (which is the beauty of single payer). At the end of the day it’s a net-gain.
  • This election cycle is simple. A Democrat will be the next president of the United States. If it’s Hillary Clinton, which all signs are pointing towards, then we can expect eight more years of a largely failed Barack Obama campaign. With Bernie, we could at least give change, as in actual change, a chance.

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