Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Is Bernie Sanders Attracting Racists? Is Hillary Clinton Evil?

The primaries have been a steep learning curve, especially around expectations. It's common news that Trump and his supporters thrive off racism, which is loathsome and worrying, but predictable. What hasn't been predictable is the way Bernie Sanders' campaign has developed.

From early interactions between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, it doesn't appear as if he believes she is evil. It looks as if he likes her. And yet his campaign is painting a very black picture of her these days. That was unexpected, but then I once didn't expect Bernie's supporters to engage in hate and vitriol and climb on the back of the years-long GOP attacks on Hillary that weren't fact-based. Then when they did I was sure it wasn't behavior that Bernie would endorse.

Mind you, who ever expected him to attack the Democratic Party? Or to be disingenuous in saying that he and his campaign have nothing to do with Hillary's increasing unpopularity.

It brings to mind a SkyNews anchor drily commenting on how, when the Panama Papers scandal broke, public opinion about whether David Cameron was corrupt or not swung heavily into "Yes he is!" after a week of screaming tabloid headlines promoting the idea.

Hillary Clinton isn't evil, and for all the accusations, there's never been a shred of evidence to prove that she is. Talking about dates, people, events, those pesky, inconvenient details without which a crime can't be solved and a person can't legitimately be pronounced guilty. Ironically, I kind of expected to learn that I was wrong about her. It hasn't happened. 

We've probably all had to constantly adjust expectations. Hillary Clinton supporters didn't expect to be called Clintonistas, or attacked and abused online for supporting a woman who they truly believe is the better candidate and who I certainly don't believe has been bought by anybody. They didn't expect for her to be compared to Hitler and for all the suffering and lives lost at his hands to be used in a cheap joke to promote an untruth and elevate Bernie Sanders by comparison. 

They couldn't predict that the "Corrupt Hillary" campaign would morph into "Corrupt Democratic Party", or that so many conspiracy theories and unsubstantiated accusations would flood the internet.

But, speaking for myself, no matter how frustrating the misinformation about Hillary has been, I've never for a minute entertained the idea that Bernie would attract racists. Never! Today a comment on NYMag was shocking and troubling. Somebody calling themselves weekhauken360 said this:
"Bernie plus Trump is a super super majority of the white eligible voters in the USA which represents 77% of the electoral college. The largest turnout of white voters in USA history is in motion. Read it and weep! Hillary represents the majority of the black and brown vote - her core - that's it - no more no less."
It's not true that Hillary only has the "black and brown vote" but the first two sentences really hit home. I thought weekhausen360 meant weep for the tragedy of it. But then I read an earlier comment and realized that he/she said it in triumph.

Shock and disgust, fear and trembling. However, one swallow doesn't make a flock or something. I went to Google and found a Daily Kos article stating that Bernie Sanders attracts racist voters, and quoting Patrick J. Egan, an Assistant Professor of Politics and Public Policy at NYU, as tweeting the following graph:

But then I saw that at the top of the page was a notice from the Daily Kos referring to the writer of the article:
Kudos to the Daily Kos team. That was enough evidence for me. I don't need or want to amass "evidence" against Bernie Sanders or do to him what people are doing to Hillary Clinton. It's ugly and promotes the worst part of life, where there's no love, no light, no truth, no joy. No peace. No real social progress.

I prefer Hillary in most ways and I feel safer around a person who doesn't portray themselves as a saint. I respected her but didn't much like her before, but I do now and my respect has grown. 

On the other hand, I don't much like the person Bernie seems to have become. But no matter how much I've had to adjust my expectations around him and his campaign, I don't believe I'll ever have to adjust this one: that he would be absolutely distraught at the idea that racists are celebrating white supremacy and supporting him because they believe he is the ticket to the realization of that terrible ideal. 

Bernie Sanders is not that man. And he never will be.