John L. Micek, 5/18/2016 [Archive]

Bernie Supporters are an Embarrassment

By John L. Micek

This one's for all the "Bernie Bros" out there.

If you ever spent as much as a moment complaining about the demonstrably unjust and violent treatment of protesters at Donald Trump's campaign rallies, now's a great time to take a long, hard look in the mirror and consider your own hypocrisy.

You can't miss it. It's glaring.

But in case you're too addled by your own misguided passions, let me explain it to you.

Slowly.

You cannot simultaneously denounce Trump for being xenophobic, anti-Semitic or misogynist when the more pea-brained among you send, as was the case last week, thousands of abusive text messages to, and leave hideous voicemails on, the cellphone of Nevada's Democratic state chairwoman, Roberta Lange.

"Praying to God someone shoots you in the FACE and blows your democracy-stealing head off!" one thoughtful soul said, according to The Washington Post's Dana Milbank.

"Hey b---. . . We know where you live. Where you work. Where you eat. Where your kids go to school/grandkids. . . Prepare for hell," another class act declared.

You cannot complain about ugly clashes between pro- and anti-Trump forces outside his rallies - as was the case at the Pennsylvania Farm Show last month - when the more Neanderthalic among you rush the stage and throw chairs when Nevada's Democrats decide they like Hillary Clinton better than your guy.

Not when you say this, as veteran Las Vegas political reporter Jon Ralston revealed:

"I think people like you should be hung in a public execution. . . . You are a sick, twisted piece of s--- and I hope you burn for this!"

"You f---ing stupid b---! What the hell are you doing? You're a f---ing corrupt b---!"

But if your ultimate goal is to hasten Bernie Sanders's descent into irrelevance, to undo the very necessary work he's done of pointing out fundamental inequities in American society, keep at it, you're succeeding beyond your wildest expectations.

Sanders could stop this with a word, but instead he walked away Tuesday during the middle of an interview when he was asked about it.

All that does is provide not-so-tacit license to his supporters to continue their thuggish behavior.

Later in the day on Tuesday, Sanders issued a statement simultaneously condemning the violence.

But he undid it with a bit of eye-for-an-eye whining and a barely veiled threat against his fellow Democrats:

"I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals," he said. "But, when we speak of violence, I should add here that months ago, during the Nevada campaign, shots were fired into my campaign office in Nevada and apartment housing complex my campaign staff lived in was broken into and ransacked."

That's awful - but it's not a justification. Not by any measure.

And he added that "if the Democratic Party is to be successful in November, it is imperative that all state parties treat our campaign supporters with fairness and the respect that they have earned ... At [the Nevada] convention the Democratic leadership used its power to prevent a fair and transparent process from taking place."

One of the great things about Sanders' and Trump's unorthodox campaigns is that both men have brought people into the political process who might have sat out this year's election entirely.

Agree or disagree with the candidates, the presence of this new blood is critically important if a representative democracy is going to survive and flourish.

Both Sanders and Trump have cast an important light on the Byzantine process the two political parties use to select their respective candidates.

And maybe Sanders has a legitimate beef with the way things went down in Nevada over the weekend. But that point has been drowned out now by his supporters' frankly childish behavior.

But if you don't like the rules, push to change them - peacefully- in Cleveland and Philadelphia during this summer's Republican and Democratic conventions. Goodness knows, the primary process could do with an reset.

You don't do it by throwing chairs and making death threats.

That's not democracy.

It's something much, much uglier.

And we're better than that.

——

©Copyright 2016 John L. Micek, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

An award-winning political journalist, Micek is the Opinion Editor and Political Columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News in Harrisburg, Pa. Readers may follow him on Twitter @ByJohnLMicek and email him at jmicek@pennlive.com.

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