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Move Along, Bernie

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 3, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 3, 2019 |


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CNN released polls last month showing where the Democratic field stands, so far, in 2020, and in both the national poll and the Iowa-only poll (where the 2020 election kicks off), Joe Biden was at the top, followed by Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke.

I feel like Bernie Sanders’ chances in 2020 probably peaked around then. He’s a frontrunner now, and for the next year, he’s going to come under a lot of scrutiny. Bernie is no Hillary, which is to say: He won’t be able to weather the daily shitshow that befalls the frontrunner, as the media begins not only to unearth problems within his candidacy but highlight Trump’s inevitable call outs. Hillary got buried by it, but she still managed to win the popular vote. I have a feeling that Bernie is gonna go the Louis C.K. route: He’ll ignore the criticism from young women and people of color for a while, but when that fails him, he’ll turn on them and try to turn his base — the Bernie Bros — against the rest of the party.

But this is a different Democratic party than it was in 2016, and you can’t win without the support of women and people of color, and Bernie’s now in the first 24-hours of a #MeToo problem, after the NYTimes surfaced a lot of incidences of sexual harassment in Sanders’ 2016 campaign. (To be fair, Hillary also had sexual harassment problems within her campaign and she personally helped to cover it up, but Hillary is not running in 2020).

Bernie, for his part, says that he knew nothing about the sexual harassment problems within his campaign. Is anyone surprised? Bernie seemed pretty determined to ignore the sexism within his own base in 2016, so the fact that he didn’t know about it within his own campaign tracks.

I did love this paragraph from the NYTimes:

Allegations of sexism surfaced during Mr. Sanders’s campaign in 2016, when many of his male fans were derogatorily dubbed “Bernie Bros” for their aggressive online attacks against female reporters and supporters of Hillary Clinton. But they did not overshadow the electrifying nature of his insurgent challenge.

Really? They didn’t overshadow his campaign at all? Whose comment sections have you been reading, Times?

At any rate, Bernie was asked about the allegations last night by Anderson Cooper, and you won’t be surprised to see that he took the same approach that he always takes when it comes to sexism within his campaign, his sexist supporters, or his massive blind spot when it comes to people of color: He basically ignored it and talked about something else.

Look, Bernie: You did a great job pushing the party — and pockets of the country — to the left on a lot of issues. Bernie was instrumental in erasing the stigma around the word “progressive.” He has helped to popularize health care for all, as well as a $15 minimum wage. A new generation of Democrats have now taken some of his ideas and packaged them better and thanks to Bernie, the DNC has vowed to be more open to a broad array of candidates in 2020.

Let that be enough, Bernie. Don’t sully it with a bruising campaign in which your nomination is doubtful, at best. Why don’t you, instead, champion someone running on your progressive ideals? You can be a hero for the party, or you can make it about yourself and be a drain on it.

But hey! At least you’re not “unlikable,” Bernie.



Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.


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