Tuesday, September 5, 2017

On Those "Bernie Wouldas"

Bernie Sanders lost the Democratic Primary to Hillary Clinton over a year ago by more than three million votes.

Yet, during the primary, I took note of the many, gendered narratives the Sanders team and his die-hards employed in refusing to admit that Hillary was legitimately beating him:
  • Bernie was only losing because he was being too nice to Hillary;
  • Bernie was only losing because he wasn't even trying in the states that he lost;
  • Bernie was only losing because DemocraticCorporateNonprofitComplex had rigged the system against him;
  • Bernie wasn't even losing at all, but even if he were, the superdelegates could still vote for him against the will of the voters.
The larger narrative was that Hillary Clinton, a woman, could not have actually been beating Sanders, a man, and even if she were, he was still entitled to be the victor.

And so it continues almost a year after the general election.

Some commentators and Twitterers have a bizarre obsession with wanting Hillary Clinton to take sole responsibility for the electoral college loss to Donald Trump. Doing so absolves us, I suppose, from having to examine deeper-seated, structural factors at play.

Within this context, we also continue to see a lot of "Bernie woulda won" taunts. It seems to be a rallying cry of disgruntled Sanders fans who believe he would have prevailed against Donald Trump in the 2016 general election and that he should run in 2020.

The reasons for this taunt are several, I suspect, and varied for different people. But, given the context of Sanders and his die-hards' inability to gracefully concede that Hillary actually beat Sanders, here is what I hear when people say "Bernie woulda won":
"I saw Trump leverage misogyny against Hillary Clinton, but I'm going to act like it was a merit-based outcome in which the old white guy could have gotten the job done where the woman failed."
With Republicans holding power in two of the three branches of federal government, it is imperative for Democrats to unite going forward. That will be extremely difficult to happen if the Democratic establishment continues to kowtow to a man and movement that gaslights the people who comprise the actual Democratic base.

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