Monday open line | Arkansas Blog

Monday, February 8, 2016

Monday open line

Posted By on Mon, Feb 8, 2016 at 5:03 PM


RE: The great Gloria Steinem / Madeleine Albright controversy over the legitimacy of young women's support for Bernie Sanders: Read this evenhanded look by the Washington Post's Janell Ross.

It boils down to this: Votes have to be earned. And any sort of entitled claim that certain votes belong to certain candidates are inherently disrespectful and open the people and campaigns that lean upon them to reasonable ridicule. It's also a tactic that Clinton and her supporters already tried in 2008 when Clinton was trying to defeat Barack Obama. It did not work well then, either. This lesson really ought to have been learned.

That, of course, is exactly what Sanders's almost-gleeful supporters have said everywhere and anywhere they could in the hours since Steinem and Albright said what they did. Several have been so bold as to profess to having a more-sophisticated view of women and their political views and obligations. And that, quite frankly, is also laughable.

The weekend collection of comments about young women and what they "ought to do" in relationship to Hillary Clinton is, no doubt, insulting. Still, no one who has had any kind of contact with more than 10 Sanders supporters will deny this. The Sanders camp — be it the campaign or the campaign's rabid and vocal supporters — is not likely to be described as particularly respectful of those who do not agree with them completely.

As an at least partial result of this, the Sanders campaign has a notable demographic problem with voters of color — including young women of color — to which their most frequent responses seem to center around the idea that these people "ought" to support Sanders and need to educate themselves. The Sanders campaign and many of its most rabid supporters seem quite dismissive of the idea that the campaign may need to actually do or say anything different to win those votes.

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