Yesterday I did a post about how Bernie supporters need to start preparing themselves for Bernie’s almost-a-mathematical-certainty loss. That and I wanted to show off pictures of my nieces. I argued that in order to maintain any of the advantages that Bernie’s campaign had produced, we need to lose with grace and dignity, and not tarnish any of the goodwill that the word “socialist” had gained. (By the way, Bernie, that means you, too. Quit saying Hillary isn’t qualified, and stop it with your super-delegate plan nonsense. Argue your platform till the convention, but don’t be a dick about it.) It’s, I hope, a small criticism that Bernie supporters should bear in mind as we move from the primary elections to the general one. Hillary supporters, your day has come.
Before writing anything else, I need to make one thing clear: I am not comparing what has happened with “Bernie Bros” to anything that Hillary’s base has done. As my friend and fellow writer Courtney can attest, “Bernie Bros” are terrifying, assaultive assholes, and the cutesy nickname only undermines that very real rape/ death threats that they make in the name of “their” candidate. If I had a say in it, every single putrid dick-blister who menaced someone with bodily harm because of this election would face legal consequences. The behavior I want to address is like a bad case of eczema, and these bastards are Baby AIDS (AIDS that afflict infants, not newborn AIDS). There is no excuse for or comparison to Baby AIDS.
But the Hillary camp does have the eczema, and it needs to be addressed. There’s a very thin undercurrent of dickish behavior that I’ve been exposed to as a Bernie supporter, and as we head into the end of the primary season, the last thing you guys can afford to be is dicks.
It usually plays out something like this:
Reasonable Bernie Supporter: I’m willing to vote for Hillary in November, but I hope she’ll still address some of the issues raised by Bernie’s campaign.
Dickish Hillary Supporter: You guys lost, she doesn’t have to change her platform at all.
Now Slightly Less Reasonable Bernie Supporter: Well, fuck her then, I’m not voting for anybody!
Dickish Hillary Supporter: You’re ruining the country! When President Trump outlaws birth control and requires us to all carry guns, I hope you’ll be happy with yourself!
What the fuck just happened? Literally everything about those exchanges are stupid. Bernie supporters should still vote and should vote for Hillary, but Hillary supporters have to not be dicks about it. What was fictional Hillary Supporter up there hoping to accomplish? When someone reluctantly agrees to join your team, why would anybody’s first response be “act like a dick”? When you argue that Hillary doesn’t have to do anything to attract Bernie supporters, what are you looking for? Contrition? Acknowledgment that she’s always been right and we’ve always been wrong? An apology? Because not only are you not going to get those things, but you just talked a willing Hillary voter out of voting.
It’s time that the two camps stop thinking of each other as “that person I have to beat.” If Hillary supporters want Bernie supporters to vote for her, make it goddamn inviting for us. Tell us you hope our concerns are addressed too. Tell us that you think this primary season might have opened the door for Hillary to introduce policies she couldn’t have done otherwise. Tell us that we might not agree on everything, but at least none of us support Trump.
And, of course, I get it. You shouldn’t have to win us over. We should be willing, if not happily willing, to vote for Hillary. Because voting is a right/responsibility of citizenship, and because voting for her is in our best interest. The catch, of course, being that not being a dick to people is something you should be wiling, if not happily willing, to do. Because being civil is a right/ responsibility of citizenship and because not being a dick is in your best interest.
Really the biggest issue is that on a fundamental level, being an asshole doesn’t win you votes. Saying, “You better vote for Hillary because otherwise Trump will become president and then we’re all fucked” is a terrible ultimatum. It doesn’t compel us to do something we still don’t want to, and it exposes that you’ll suffer as much as we will. “Do this thing with me or else something bad will happen to all of us” makes for a terrible threat. But it’s a great plea for help.