(This is the second of three posts regarding Democratic attitudes and performance, both in the election and at present. Part 1 showed how the Democratic Party has rapidly shrunk, even after the election, and showed the public attitudes toward its leaders and their GOP counterparts. There will be some overlap in my references to certain data through the three posts.)
I’m often accused of “relitigating” the Democratic primaries because I still vocally support Bernie Sanders (who is now in Democratic Party leadership and is their frontman in most of their actions against Trump) and I occasionally still criticize Hillary Clinton (who is now…uh…tweeting sometimes, I guess).
The main reason I do this is because I am, like many progressives, fighting to strengthen the party through reform, trying to force a failing party away from the corporatist policies and out of the calcified bubble of privilege which led to its catastrophic failures in the past quarter century. Part of that is very much a frank look at where it failed in the last election, both with its presidential candidate and with its national strategies.
Another part is actively countering those who do not want the party to change, or who are themselves still litigating the primaries. While I may post things like, “Hillary Clinton not only didn’t even go to Wisconsin to campaign, she bought seven times more TV ads in Los Angeles than she did in Milwaukee,” I see other folks post things like, “I fucking hate Bernie Sanders, Trump is his fault.” I hope you’ll recognize that my posts are generally a sharing of information, not invective, while much of what I see from those standing in defense of Clinton and the entrenched party establishment is pure venom. I often feel my skin crawl after reading through a thread from these folks.
Mind you, #NotAllClintonistas. I’m not saying no Clinton supporters offer reasoned arguments, nor am I saying all Sanders supporters avoid nasty invective. There is a lot of anger out there, and a hell of a lot of people are blinded by it and, often, not actually as informed as they should be. There are a few lefty folks in my feed who are my natural allies, who share very good information, but will often veer into crazy land and make their posts unshareable because I don’t want to be associated with irrational nonsense, even if offered up with otherwise sound info.
While many on the left who disagree with me seem to detest progressive voters, I harbor no ill will toward Clinton supporters, though I do think all of the data we have available strongly indicates that the Nader effect during this election wasn’t a third party vote in the general, it was a Clinton vote in the primaries. I understand why some folks thought she was the better choice even though I don’t agree. Those voters voted for her because they believed in her, or at least believed in her greater electability. And to whatever degree they support a Democratic party which serves the actual needs of the American people, they are my allies.
As for the folks who spew hate toward Bernie and toward the left, I am relieved to discover that, though very loud, they are in a nasty little minority, even among Democrats (just as the nasty Bernie supporters are a sliver of the community, just as they always were, no matter how much the DNC and Clinton campaign tried to insist otherwise).
According to a recent poll by YouGov and The Economist, Bernie Sanders has:
56% favorability among all Americans
(higher even than Obama’s 53%)
80% favorability among registered Democrats
85% favorability among liberals
31% favorability among Republicans
(that’s right: almost a third of Republicans actually like Bernie)
53% favorability among all men
58% favorability among all women
(note that’s higher than among men because, you know, “Bernie Bros”)
52% favorability among all whites
64% favorability among all Blacks
(note that’s higher than among whites, and most “Bernie Bros” are supposed to be white)
58% favorability among all Hispanics
61% favorability among “Other” races
86% favorability among those who voted for Hillary
(note that on the day of the election, Hillary had 43% favorability, exactly half Bernie’s number here, not even a majority, and 56% unfavorability)
27% favorability among those who voted for Trump
(you know, all those voters we’re told Bernie absolutely couldn’t have gotten; Trump, by the way, had 39% favorable/60% unfavorable on election day)
Bernie Sanders finished the primaries as the most popular politician in the country, and he remains so. So don’t be surprised when people champion him for continuing to champion us, or when they voice regret that he didn’t get the chance to beat Trump, or when they simply say good things about him. He isn’t old news, he is, arguably, the current leader of the Democratic party, at least to the American people. And to the degree the Democrats embrace him and his policies, they have a greater chance to prevail.
(Oh, and in case you’re interested, Elizabeth Warren has a 34% favorability among all voters. Just so you know where the other “progressive champion” stands.)
And as for those acid-spewing Bernie haters on the left, I assume they’re in the “very unfavorable” category which makes up a pathetic 6% of Democrats. Nurse that grudge, you’re so insignificant you’re basically the margin of error.