Monday, May 18, 2020

Why Bernie Bros Have Made Themselves Irrelevant

If you never intended to vote in the first place, then why should politicians pander for your vote?

Comrade Bernie Sanders is at it again.  He claims to have withdrawn from the Presidential race, but in reality he's only suspended his campaign, keeping his options open in case something horrible should happen to Joe Biden between now and the convention.

Bernie is acting like he is above the fray, making a tepid endorsement of Joe Biden and largely staying out of the public limelight. But he's using his surrogates to advance his cause, which illustrates exactly what a nefarious and underhanded person he really turned out to be.  But then again, Communists.

Last month it was his former press secretary who unleashed a withering attack on Joe Biden on Twitter.  Of course, it was his press secretary, not Bernie Sanders himself making these attacks - which were not endorsed by Bernie or directed by him - and we're all supposed to believe that because we're stupid.

This month one of his advisers goes on television and tells everyone that their core group of Bernie supporters will never vote for Joe Biden.  I'm not sure what the point of this is, only to create further division and chaos. And once again, we're supposed to believe that Bernie isn't behind this. We're not that stupid.

I guess the point is, since 1/3 of Bernie supporters will never vote for Joe Biden that the rest of us have to change our support to Bernie in order to get this tiny minority of "voters" (who likely will never vote anyway) to go along with things.  You think that sounds crazy, but if you look at history, a lot of times this is the way things turn out.  Very small groups of committed individuals end up taking over countries, usually with disastrous results.

The Nazis in Germany and the Communists in Russia were certainly not representative of a majority of the population, but they were able to obtain power in both cases and slaughtered millions of people. They seemed so nice when they're trying to get you to go along with them early on, but once in power, they resort to ruthlessness to stay in power.  Bernie's use of surrogates to try to shape public opinion sort of tips his hand in this regard - that he is willing to do anything to gain power, no matter how underhanded.

Of course, this calls into question the real beliefs of the so-called "Bernie Bros" to begin with. I haven't really followed this too much, but apparently, this core group of under-30, white, middle-class, unemployed, over-educated, indebted, living-with-parents, oversexed and never laid, men, are not so much liberal or leftist, as they are seeking some sort of identity.  They go to events and listen to podcasts and root on their "team" without even understanding what it is all about.  They are Rush Limbaugh "dittoheads" for the Left - choosing "Left" as an arbitrary team to endorse, as apparently the girlfriend who rejected them in high school is now married to a Republican.

You can't be "Leftist" or liberal and be a misogynist, particularly the virulent sort of misogyny that these hard-core Bernie Bros apparently believe in.  And you can't be leftist and be a bully - it simply is an oxymoron.  Yet this escapes these folks, much as the rah-rah Trump supporters who attend his Nuremberg rallies have no real idea what "Conservative" means, other than "Not Hillary" or "Not Nancy Pelosi" which is an interesting observation, as it seems the flip side to the same misogynist coin.   But again, such folks really don't have much in the way of real political thought - they just latch on to the politician or cause that sounds convenient to them.   For the Tumpers, it is "bringing back jobs" to rust-belt areas (how's that working out?).   For unemployed college grads, it is "free college" and "student loan forgiveness" and "making Stacey have sex with them" - or at least apparently that is how it is.

In both the case of the far-right and the far-left, it is the same narrative - that "other people" are getting rich and are "lucky" and that "other people" are getting laid as well.   No doubt the "red pill" and "incel" folks are tied up in both ends of this spectrum.   Confusing sex with politics is probably never a good idea.

Unfortunately, I think this sort of nonsense will backfire. Nobody really cares what the Bernie Bros think - they are just a bunch of whiny middle-class white kids who don't want to pay back their student loans.  In fact nobody really cares what a minority of Bernie supporters think.  There will always be hardcore people who believe in extremist politics, who will never vote for any candidate except for the extremist (other than themselves, of course).  Chasing after those votes is an exercise in futility - and for all their noise and fury, most of these types don't vote or are even registered to vote.

That is sort of the endgame in this type of philosophy.  If you set out to find the candidate who perfectly mirrors your every single belief, the only candidate you will find will be in the mirror.  Sadly we can't have everybody voting for themselves for President, and we can't have 330 million co-presidents, it simply wouldn't work.

Political maturity means compromise.  Politics is the art of the possible. So you vote for the candidate who you think is the better person and best represents your views.  You realize, as a grown-up adult, that a viable candidate doesn't perfectly mirror your views, nor are they a perfect candidate. None of them ever are.

Very few people are in love with their candidates.  In fact, I think anybody who is in love with a particular candidate is a blithering idiot. If you are rabid Sanders fan, you need to have your head examined. If you are a rabid Trump fan, ditto. Of course, there were a few rabid Biden fans, as he represents a compromise in the party between the far left in the far right.  People in the center tend not to get emotionally involved in politics because we realize that this isn't a popularity contest or a chance to vote for a celebrity on some singing show on TeeVee.

Sadly for Democrats, Republicans seem to have less trouble with this concept. They will vote for an odious politician such as Trump because they realize that even with all his faults, he's going to do things more in line with their political views. Whether those views are in regard to tax cuts or abortion is irrelevant, Trump will be more favorable to their position than any Democrat.

(Of course, the irony is that Trump was once a Democrat and had fairly liberal views at one time. After all he did live in New York City.)

To be sure, there are few Republicans who have broken ranks in recent years. John McCain and Mitt Romney, while initially being lukewarm in their support for Trump, later come out strongly against him.  I think both realized that their long-term legacy meant more to them than short-term gains. They both probably also realized there were no gains to be had from Trump, as he basically declared war on them first.

But that's just the problem. There are very few Republicans who are willing to go against the party line. Whereas on the Democrat side of the aisle, there is no shortage of opportunists who are willing to sacrifice the overall good of the party for their own short-term aggrandizement. And most of these people aren't even really Democrats, but Socialist or Communist such as Miss AOC and Bernie. They really should form their own party rather than trying to crash one that already exists.

Because, when you get down to it, the Democratic party isn't ready to go all-out Socialist or Communist, as they realize that would lose (even more) elections.  The proposition that Bernie Bros are presenting is that the Democratic party should pander entirely to their platform to the point where they will never have a chance of winning anywhere outside of Massachusetts or Vermont.

Thus, the Democratic party has everything to lose and nothing to gain by pandering to this far left constituency. A better approach is to pander to the middle of the road constituency, which is not only more likely to vote, but represents a much larger voting bloc - a huge majority of the United States.  These are the people who work for a living instead of spending all day playing video games in their parents' basement. These are the people who paid back their student loans instead of whining for a bailout. Remember that the majority of Americans consider themselves Independents, not Democrats, Republicans, or Socialists.

This my-way-or-the-highway approach that the Bernie Bros have taken has basically made them an irrelevant political force.  The fact that so many of them threaten to (or actually did) vote for Trump, underscores the point.   In a way it is like the Tea Party Movement. The Republican Party felt they had to pander to this group initially, but then realized in the long run, they were losing elections as a result.   Today, the Tea Party is but a distant memory - some aspects of it being absorbed into the mainstream GOP, but most tossed by the wayside, particularly as many of its more intransigent members failed to get re-elected.

I suspect in a year so, Democratic Socialists will probably be a distant memory as well.   When you make yourself irrelevant, you become irrelevant.