Who remembers the PUMAs?
For those of you too young — or perhaps too old! — to remember, they were pockets of dead enders, Hillary Clinton supporters after Barack Obama clinched the nomination in 2008, vowing to continue their support for Clinton (please go read the story at the link; it’s one of my favorites), chanting Party Unity, My Ass!
Now, of course, the shoe is on the other foot, with cries of outrage that Bernie Sanders hasn’t withdrawn. Hillary has been running for president for about ten years now, and if that doesn’t make her entitled, I don’t know what will, the fact that half the country would rather crawl on their hands and knees over broken glass than have her as president notwithstanding.
If Bill was the candidate from Hope, Hillary is the candidate from Entitlement, and there is no way a little unpopularity should stand in her way. Right?
It is astonishing, though, that she can’t easily dispatch a 74-year-old, white-haired, Democratic Socialist from Brooklyn. Especially among the Millennials — now our largest cohort — where Bernie outpolls Hillary by margins of three or four to one. I have written before that I find this gratifying, although I am not Jewish, nor am I from Brooklyn.
Parenthetically, and as some of you know, I have been a host of a political and social club called Drinking Liberally for many years. (Drinking Liberally doesn’t endorse candidates, but I’m entitled to my own opinion.) We meet at a bar called the 331 Club, and it is full of Millennials. They prefer, almost to a person, Bernie. I find this really remarkable.
If I was in charge of worrying about this for money for Hillary Clinton, I would be pretty scared.
I have my policy reasons for supporting Bernie Sanders — probably hundreds of them if I added them up — but I also find the sub rosa negative campaign of the Clinton forces to be alarming. In the past day or so, I read a reddit titled Confessions of a Hillary Shill. It describes some of the arguments you will face if you post or make a pro-Bernie comment on social media, or on a website. I don’t know the provenance of the post, but I will tell you that it rings absolutely true with my social media experience.
The poster identifies talking points to be used on social media against Bernie supporters:
1) Sexism. This was the biggest one we were supposed to push. We had to smear Bernie as misogynistic and out-of-touch with modern sensibilities. He was to be characterized as “an old white male relic that believed women enjoyed being gang raped”.
2) Racism. We were instructed to hammer home how Bernie supporters were all privileged white students that had no idea how the world worked. We had to tout Hillary’s great record with “the blacks” (yes, that’s the actual way it was phrased), and generally use racial identity politics to attack Sanders and bolster Hillary as the only unifying figure.
3) Electability. All of those posts about how Sanders can never win and Hillary is inevitable? Some of those were us, done deliberately in an attempt to demoralize Bernie supporters and convince them to stop campaigning for him. The problem is that this was an outright fabrication and not an accurate assessment of the current political situation.
4) Dirty tactics. This is where things got really bad. We were instructed to create narratives of Clinton supporters as being victimized by Sanders supporters, even if they were entirely fabricated.
Post anything pro-Bernie and you are labeled misogynistic, racist, a Bernie-bro, or if you are lucky, just an old, white progressive. Even if you talk about policy exclusively. I can tell you this from multiple personal experiences.
My advice is, my friends, if you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, stick to your guns; send him $2.70 or $27, or whatever you can. And tell all the social media mavens they are full of doo doo.
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