Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Clinton on Sanders: It's the Culture Around Him

Zero fucks Hillary Clinton is the best Hillary Clinton.

In an interview with Hollywood Reporter about the upcoming series about her, here she is on Bernie Sanders:
"I will say, however, that [the problem is] not only him, it's the culture around him. It's his leadership team. It's his prominent supporters. It's his online Bernie Bros and their relentless attacks on lots of his competitors, particularly the women. And I really hope people are paying attention to that because it should be worrisome that he has permitted this culture — not only permitted, [he] seems to really be very much supporting it. And I don't think we want to go down that road again where you campaign by insult and attack and maybe you try to get some distance from it, but you either don't know what your campaign and supporters are doing or you're just giving them a wink and you want them to go after Kamala [Harris] or after Elizabeth [Warren]. I think that that's a pattern that people should take into account when they make their decisions."
I appreciate Clinton bringing gender to the forefront in the 2020 election, because gender has oddly not been, despite a primary that started with record numbers of women running.

Of course, last week's conversation, if one can call it that, about whether or not Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren he didn't think a woman could win the presidency, after which Warren was viciously attacked online by influential Bernie supporters and surrogates, demonstrates why female candidates might choose not to foreground gender, and misogyny, in their campaign.

There is absolutely a toxic left misogyny culture around Bernie Sanders, a culture that he has let fester.

Observe, for instance, my reaction last week to well-known Bernie supporter Michael Moore's attack on Elizabeth Warren, which he tweeted out to his 6 million followers:

This type of vitriol from influential Bernie supporters isn't even rare. Shaun King, who has over 1 million followers, was also repeatedly tweeting attacks on Warren, claiming to have inside knowledge about how Warren is dishonest.

It's also hard to overstate how the festering of this culture is made so much easier on social media, particularly Twitter. For instance, on Twitter, once a high-follower, pro-Bernie account tweets a general soundbite about another candidate, bots and Bernie supporters begin swarming with riffs on that soundbite, targeting that candidate and the ordinary people who support that candidate.

Bernie could de-escalate a lot of what we see, online, from his hard-core supporters, but too often, we see that, through his silence, he lets the abuse and misogyny work in his favor. Historically, to "address" the abuse, he has just given a general statement saying he doesn't want his supporters to attack people, and they continue to do so anyway.

Interestingly, though, when one of Bernie's surrogates attacked Joe Biden in a piece at The Guardian, Bernie just recently outright apologized to Biden, in public.

It's a notable distinction to how he treats his female/POC opponents.

[1/23/20 - UPDATE: Conspicuously proving Hillary Clinton's point about the culture that permeates Bernie's campaign, with his endorsement, today Bernie Sanders approvingly tweeted a clip of Joe Rogan speaking well of Bernie and saying he's probably going to vote for him. As Sady Doyle notes, Joe Rogan is, uh, pretty problematic for a host of reasons.]

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