Monday, November 2, 2015

Misogyny? Seriously?

I am amazed that anyone is calling Bernie Sanders supporters misogynists.

Are there any male chauvinists in their ranks? No doubt some. All groups have unwelcome members that need to seriously revisit their politics on one issue or another and they should be called out on it. But they hardly define the Sanders movement. Or should we judge Hillary Clinton by her racist 2008 PUMA (Party Unity My Ass) supporters? The suggestion is just absurd.

Why? Because Sanders had effectively inherited the draft Elizabeth Warren movement. After Warren firmly said "NO" several times, they finally took the hint.* If you want to see the average Sanders fan, look at the average Warren fan. They are the same people.

Full disclosure: I am a Sanders supporter, in case you have not already guessed. Indeed, I have a Sanders t-shirt that is a revamped version of a Warren t-shirt - same artist, same caption: "Time for some tough love on Wall Street. Minus the love." As the caption suggests, we want a candidate that will fight for economic equality and punish financial malfeasance. Hillary Clinton does not strike us as that candidate. In fact, progressives have been disenchanted with Clinton's safe establishment stances for quite some time. Indeed, Clinton has been chillingly conservative for a Democrat.

Recently, two dubious accusations were leveled against Sanders by Clinton and her surrogates.

First, they mis-characterized Sander's stock comment that people "shouting" over the gun issue does nothing. He has been saying this for years, but Hillary Clinton spun it as Sanders trying to silence her. It may be a misunderstanding, but I doubt it.

Second, Clinton supporters said that it was a "condescending insult" for a Sanders aide to say they would consider her for vice president. If so, then it was a condescending insult when the Clinton campaign said the very same thing about Obama in 2008. The Obama camp's response was, "We're not running for vice president." But perhaps the Clinton camp does not remember 2008. (I doubt that too.)

Of course, polling shows that any gender gap between the two camps is statistically insignificant. The real differences between the two campaigns' supporters are age and race. The Sanders campaign is not a boys club populated with "Bernie Bros."

Let's not kid ourselves: I love Bernie Sanders and I hope he wins, but we all know that Elizabeth Warren was the progressive movement's first choice. We all know that if Warren had decided to run, nobody would be talking about Sanders today except in the same way they talk about Martin O'Malley, Lincoln Chafee, and Jim Webb. Who? Exactly. Sanders would be in the single digits and I would be wearing the Warren version of the t-shirt. Perhaps she would have tapped him to be VP. It would have been a dream ticket.

Obviously, that did not happen, But settling for Sanders has proven to be surprisingly exciting. A lot of us underestimated him and went into this only hoping to nudge Hillary Clinton to the left. (And it has indeed worked!) But it turns out that grumpy grandpa appeals to more people than me. Who knew? Now Sanders looks like he has a real chance. Indeed, the fact that he is getting such shoddy, desperate flack, suggests that another 2008-like upset might occur. And I'll happily take that.


* In defense of those who persistently pestered Warren to run for president, she also repeatedly demurred to endorse Clinton (this video suggests why), so they read too much into that. Likewise, when Obama first ran in 2008, he promised to pull troops out of Iraq and redeploy th
em in Afghanistan. Doves had presumed this was just talk because although the Afghan War's popularity was falling, it was still over 50%. They had persuaded themselves that Obama would pull out of both once approval dropped below 50 - if not before. Obviously, that did not happen. In both cases, the political figures meant exactly what they said, but their supporters' wishful thinking rationalized something else. But, hey, a lot of politics is reading between the lines. Otherwise, what would we bloggers have to write about besides our cats?

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