When Bernie Sanders announced his long-shot candidacy last year, he made it clear that he wanted to emphasize issues that the other Democrats were ignoring: income inequality, universal health care, increasing the minimum wage, campaign finance reform…
He may not have gotten the nomination, but I think he has done much better than even he expected.
He’s shown you can call yourself a socialist and move to the left and still get votes; you don’t have to suck up to Wall Street to raise enough money to run a campaign; and it is possible to energize a large portion of the American voting populace even if you don’t have a typical candidate profile. (Honestly, I think if Bernie looked and sounded like George Clooney, he’d have the nomination. Charisma does matter.)
But some of Bernie’s more idealistic (and naive) supporters can’t take it, which was to be expected. After all, they had shown in the past that they didn’t understand how primaries work, didn’t understand election laws, didn’t understand how fundraising worked, and otherwise made the rest of us Bernie supporters look bad.
“He’s sold out!” they claim. “He is betraying everything he stood for by endorsing Hillary. He lied to us!”
Well, no. He said from day one that he would endorse Hillary if she won the nomination. Had he not done so, then he would be be a liar.
Then they post dishonest memes like this one. Talk about being a liar! Bernie never said any of those things. Those kind of quotes come from radical Bernie followers. Oh, and also from Trump supporters, who love the “useful idiots” on the left doing their work for them.
“He’s just another politician!” the Bernie Bots scream. Yes, of course. That’s how he became a Senator. That’s how he has been able to get stuff done. That’s how any politician gets stuff done, since the ancient days of Rome and Greece. Bernie, like any good politician, has made deals. He’s voted for bills he didn’t like that much because it was the best he could accomplish at the time. He’s supporting the candidate who is the best even if she is not perfect. That’s how you accomplish things in politics. He knows how to play the game.
And if you don’t play the game, you can’t win.
Politics without principles is always bad. But principles without politics gets you nowhere.
The Bernie Bots just don’t get it. Playing the game is how he got his issues into the Democratic platform. It’s why he waited so long before endorsing Hillary — because he wanted to force her to embrace these positions.
The Bots should be happy. He won. He broke down walls, opened doors, and set the stage for future accomplishments.
Bernie supporters: You may not have won the war, but you won some major battles. And that is something to celebrate.