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As a veteran of the 2016 Bernie campaign, I am seeing some similarities between the sort of abuse Bernie got back then from HRC supporters and what he is getting now from a segment of Warren supporters.
I am concerned about this because while I want the differences between Bernie and Warren to be discussed openly and fairly–and I recently wrote just such a comparison on means testing–I do not want to see a return to the toxic trolling and hate that became the 2016 pattern between Bernie and HRC.
I don't think this is good for either Bernie or Warren, but is is especially toxic for Bernie, because Warren has the entire news media treating her pretty much like Queen Elizabeth.
To put this in context, I went to the Hillary board in the fall of 2015, identified myself openly as a Bernie supporter, and I told folks there politely that if they believed HRC would win the nomination she would need to have the support of Bernie people to win the general election. And she would need to have the activist energy of Bernie's young base to win as well. So I told them it was in their interest to cool it with the attacks on Bernie as a racist, sexist, greedy, phony, millionaire, incompetent, egomaniacal blowhard. Bernie supporters were routinely characterized as racist, sexist, spoiled, lazy and stupid. I told the Hillary subreddit that it would be counterproductive to continue in that vein. Discuss the actual meaningful differences instead, and win support on those grounds. But knock it off with the below the belt stuff, especially about Bernie's supporters.
The response at the HRC subreddit was immediate and furious. I was told in no uncertain terms to fuck off and that Bernie and his supporters were all total assholes who deserved everything that got from the HRC camp. I knew then that HRC was in trouble, even if she won the nomination.
It seems like the most obnoxious element of Warren supporters–those who routinely and groundlessly demean and distort Bernie and his supporters–are increasingly Hillary supporters from 2016. They are not a majority of Warren supporters by any means, but they are a notable caucus.
I have long thought that part of the intense anger some HRC supporters had toward Bernie was that he exposed what a corporate establishment shill HRC was. Many of HRC's supporters wanted HRC to be seen as much more progressive than she actually was and not be seen as a hack. Recall that Hillary was blindsided by Bernie's surge in 2016 and was unprepared to defend herself from attacks on her left. I suspect these HRC supporters disliked many of HRC's positions–like her vote for the Iraq war and her coziness with Wall Street–but for a variety of reasons were never going to go as far left as Bernie…and as I said they hated Bernie for making them as well as HRC look like sellouts. They really hated Bernie supporters for seeming holier-than-thou. These 2016 HRC supporters get what they wanted now with Warren–she is superior to Hillary in my opinion–and they can keep up their blind hatred of Bernie and his supporters. Its a two-fer.
I get pissed off as much as anyone at some of the idiotic and unfair attacks and putdowns Bernie and all of us get from this crowd. It is ever-present on CNN and MSNBC and proliferates on Twitter. But let's follow Bernie's lead and not get dragged into the gutter. Keep the debate on issues that actually matters to working-class Americans and not get distracted by the toxic sludge of Bernie hate. These attacks are a refection of an inability to take Bernie down on the stuff that matters and should be treated as such. Follow Bernie's lead. That is the path to success.