Favorite

Bernie Bros 

An athlete in his youth, Bernie Sanders appears to understand overwrought fans.

click to enlarge Sen. Bernie Sanders - GAGE SKIDMORE
  • Gage Skidmore
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders

Sometimes I think I learned more politically relevant lessons playing ball than anywhere else. If nothing else, sports teach realism: what you can do, what you can't, how to deal with it. Also, what's the score, how much time's left, and what's the best tactic right now?

It helps to know the rules, and it's important to keep your head. Bad plays are inevitable, dumb plays less forgivable.

But here's something else you learn playing ball: Not everybody on your team is going to be your friend, just as people wearing different-colored shirts aren't personal enemies. Also, spectators can be fickle. Your most passionate fans can quickly turn into your opponent's ally.

These are all useful concepts during an American primary election.

An athlete in his youth, Bernie Sanders appears to understand overwrought fans. His campaign's apology to Hillary Clinton supporters harassed online by so-called "Bernie Bros," angry young men given to coarse attacks upon anybody — especially women — supporting his rival was a class move.

"If you support @berniesanders," Sanders aide Mike Casca tweeted from Iowa, "please follow the senator's lead and be respectful when people disagree with you."

Columnist Joan Walsh had called out the Bernie Bros behavior. "When I've disclosed that my daughter works for Clinton — in The Nation, on MSNBC, and on social media — we've both come in for trolling so vile," she wrote, "it's made me not merely defensive of her. It's forced me to recognize how little society respects the passion of the many young women — and men — who are putting their souls into electing the first female president."

Walsh told BuzzFeed that while she didn't blame Sanders, "it is disturbing to see such a misogynist strain in the male left. It's not a new thing, but it's tough to experience."

Kathleen Geier, a contributor to The Nation and a Sanders supporter, concedes the Bernie Bros are definitely "doing harm to the cause. I haven't seen people treat Obama supporters like this, or supporters of other male establishment candidates — just Hillary. So it's definitely misogyny."

Well, yes and no. See, I suspect many of these jokers are Internet trolls in the original sense: right-wing Hillary-haters seeking to foment discord among Democrats.

Anybody can pretend to be anything online. Anonymity encourages people to unmask their darkest impulses. Read the comments line to almost anything on the Internet about the Clinton-Sanders campaign.

Did a group of prominent women Senators and diplomats endorse Hillary?

"Their vaginas are making terrible choices!" writes one characteristically vulgar Sanders supporter. The discussion goes straight downhill from there.

Even in the relatively civilized precincts of The Guardian, commenters to a Jill Abramson column sympathetic to Clinton revel in nasty sexual insults:

"Yes, please tell me how Shillary is the nicest corporate oligarchical servant, and how she will lovingly sell out the people who voted for her to her banker masters, with a twinkle in her fellating eye."

Another online philosopher opines, "she can't be good for a nation if she wasn't good enough for her husband."

A third adds, "Hillary is a terrible campaigner and a much worse human being. She is thoroughly corrupt, dishonest, vile, vindictive, vengeful, condescending, etc."

As somebody who's gotten obscene, often threatening emails WRITTEN ALL IN IN CAPS for years, I can't say I'm shocked. Recently a tough guy in Illinois speculated that being named "Eugene" made me a sissy; Noreen says Hillary's a COMMIE BITCH. My photo makes her vomit.

All in a day's work.

Anyway, maybe I'm looking in the wrong places, but I see no comparable venom about Bernie Sanders. My own strongest reservation is that despite his admirable qualities, I've seen few signs of political realism in his campaign.

As baseball people say, there's no such thing as a six-run home run. How otherwise sensible Democrats have persuaded themselves that a candidate preaching "revolution" and promising big tax increases can win come November in swing states like Ohio, Michigan and Florida — places that have trended Democratic, but have Republican governors — is hard for me to grasp.

(Unless, of course, the GOP nominates a far-right Froot Loop like Ted Cruz, not a probability I'd want to gamble on.)

The Daily Banter's Chez Pazienza sums up everything that needs to be said about "Bernie Bros," make-believe and real: "If you're a liberal who believes these things about Clinton —if you see her as anything other than a liberal Democrat who's guilty of nothing more than being a politician with faults and with a plethora of enemies like every other on this planet, including Bernie Sanders — you've proven that the protracted smear campaign against this woman has worked. You prove that the GOP won a long time ago."

Meanwhile, both candidates' supporters would do well to recall that Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton have voted together in the U.S. Senate 93 percent of the time.

Favorite

From the ArkTimes store

Speaking of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

More by Gene Lyons

  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Now and then

    Almost exactly 10 years before launching a Tomahawk missile strike against a Syrian air base, Donald J. Trump enjoyed a similar triumph in an internationally televised, pay-per-view spectacle called the "Battle of the Billionaires."
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Not again

    This just in: Nothing boosts circulation or enhances ratings like a sex scandal.
    • Jan 14, 2016
  • Never wrong

    Quite a few people make noises about leaving the country if the wrong person gets elected president. I've been making discreet inquiries in the vicinity of Kinsale, County Cork, myself — from whence my people emigrated after 1880.
    • Apr 21, 2016
  • Hillary hit jobs

    It's always been my conviction that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president, she'd do a bang-up job. Getting elected, however, might prove more difficult.
    • Jul 28, 2016

Most Shared

  • Workers stiffed

    How is it going with the great experiment to make the Republican Party the champion of the sons and daughters of toil instead of the oligarchs of wealth and business?
  • Former state board of education chair Sam Ledbetter weighs in on Little Rock millage vote

    Ledbetter, the former state Board of Education chair who cast the decisive vote in 2015 to take over the LRSD, writes that Education Commissioner Johnny Key "has shown time and again that he is out of touch with our community and the needs of the district." However, Ledbetter supports the May 9 vote as a positive for the district's students and staff.
  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.

Latest in Gene Lyons

  • O'Reilly's fall

    Whom the gods would destroy, they first make TV stars.
    • Apr 27, 2017
  • Art bull

    "God, I hate art," my late friend The Doctor used to say.
    • Apr 20, 2017
  • Now and then

    Almost exactly 10 years before launching a Tomahawk missile strike against a Syrian air base, Donald J. Trump enjoyed a similar triumph in an internationally televised, pay-per-view spectacle called the "Battle of the Billionaires."
    • Apr 13, 2017
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Fishing the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas

Event Calendar

« »

April

S M T W T F S
  1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
16 17 18 19 20 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29
30  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: O'Reilly's fall

    • O'Reilly should run for president. He's already cleared one major hurdle by proving he's a…

    • on April 27, 2017
  • Re: Intracity tourism

    • I love being a tourist in my own backyard. One of the advantages of being…

    • on April 27, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation