category: brief rant.
Eleven Democratic candidates for President have qualified for the next debate. Each one could plausibly complain about something – the way they are covered by the media, the schedule of primary elections, campaign finance regulations, misleading statements by their opponents, even their assigned positions on stage during the debates.
For example, one can easily imagine supporters of Biden griping that the media focuses too much on supposed gaffes, or Kamala Harris boosters complaining about slanted coverage of her record as a prosecutor. Warren is probably just as sick of Pocahontas stories as Buttigieg is of seeing “openly” next to the word “gay.” Can anyone doubt that Beto’s backers fume at the stories about his failure to rise in the polls, that Castro and Klobuchar think they deserve more media attention, or that Yang and Williamson don’t think their campaigns are given serious consideration?
None of the candidates are campaigning in 100% perfect circumstances. In particular, the media tends to run articles portraying each of them with one or another simplistic label or tag line. And, to increase attention, articles posit unlikely conflicts or pointless straw men. “How long can Warren and Sanders remain friends?” “Is Buttigieg the new Beto”? “Can a woman win this time?”
BUT. A carefully conducted and statistically reliable survey (of my friends and relations) establishes two important points. First, with one exception, no matter which candidate people prefer at this stage of the game, they plan to vote for whoever ultimately wins the Democratic nomination. Secondly, with one exception, they understand that anyone running for any office is likely to face annoying party rules, misleading media coverage, silly debate moderators, and false statements by reporters and politicians. Right? So, okay, Big Shrug, and whatcha gonna do, thems the breaks.
EXCEPT, gosh darn it, for the Bernie Brigade. Don’t get me wrong, Bernie is a good guy with some good ideas. But his supporters are the only ones who insist that if he doesn’t win it’s because of an evil conspiracy, and the only ones who declare that they won’t vote for anyone if Bernie doesn’t win.
Not only is this annoying as hell, it’s also scary because it increases the chances of Voldemort’s re-election.
Furthermore, the “Bernie or no one” position is the exact opposite of the values behind Sanders campaign. Democratic socialism is based on the principle that we should, within reason, enact policies that benefit society as a whole, even at the expense of certain individual privileges. The idea is that people may pay higher taxes and businesses may have more regulations, but free public transportation will be available and pollution will decrease. It ultimately requires some sacrifice by the individual for the good of all. However, a Bernie Brat who is willing to see Trump re-elected if Sanders is “cheated” out of the nomination is essentially declaring that they will sacrifice what is manifestly best for the common good rather than endure the personal discomfort of voting for a party or candidate they are not thrilled with.
To the Bernie or Bust cohort, I say (1) grow up, and (2) what would Bernie do?