3 Primary Reasons #ImWithHer

When I was a Human Resources Manager, I compared hundreds of resumes to job descriptions to find the right candidate. This methodology is even more important when casting your vote for the President of the United States. As a liberal Democrat, I will vote for the Democratic nominee in November. For the primary, we have a choice between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. A comparison:

The President’s Job Duties 

1. Commander in Chief 

Closely related to Chief Diplomat. Who will decide when, where, how and why to deploy troops or use weapons? The President negotiates with other countries and makes the foreign policy of the United States.

  • ExperienceForeign Policy Experience

    As a former Secretary of State and highly visible figure in two Presidential administrations, Hillary has far more foreign policy experience than Bernie. This was made painfully clear during a cringe-worthy episode of Hardball with Chris Matthews where Bernie bragged he could deal with (Russian President Vladimir) Putin because he ‘took on a lot of people as mayor of Burlington.”

  • Interventionism:

    Hillary understands it is unfortunately sometimes necessary to intervene in other governments’ foreign affairs. Bernie would rather focus on domestic issues. The problem with his approach is we cannot allow abuses of human rights to go unchecked. When there are murderous despots inflicting genocide, our nation should get involved. Hillary learned the hard way, from our non-interventions in Rwanda and Bosnia, that many deaths and much harm can come from standing by and doing nothing. “If the U.S. had gone into Rwanda sooner following the start of the 1994 genocide, at least a third or roughly 300,000 lives could have been saved.” When we become aware of wrongdoing, we have an obligation to do something about it if we can. The United States military can often do things other countries can’t. Weighing the risks of action vs. non-action is important. Standing up to oppressors is a sign of a strong moral compass. If you see your neighbor abusing a child, you step in, and you intervene to save the child.

  • Hawks & Doves:hawk

    For her willingness to intervene, Hillary has been labeled a “hawk” and Bernie “a dove.” It really no longer makes sense to use these political labels, because while “hawks” advocate a foreign policy based on strong military power, common sense dictates no one wants war. Theoretically “doves” try to resolve international conflicts without the threat of force. In reality, diplomatic options are always explored before the threat of force is used. Personally I’d rather be protected by a hawk than a dove, and the Democratic Party needs a hawk to stand up to (and win) against the Republicans.

2. Head of Government/Chief Legislator

Who will be the main author of public policy? Who will initiate legislation and influence Congress in its lawmaking?

  •  The Climate:

The Republicans currently control Congress.  In fact, Democrats have the lowest number of House members since 1947. This is unlikely to change in the near future. President Obama, a seasoned negotiator, has encountered significant pushback passing legislation.

  • A Team Player vs. An Individual:

Bernie admitted to Chris Matthews on Hardball that he was “not an inside the Beltway guy,” yet cultivating those relationships is exactly what’s required to navigate legislative deals with a Republican-controlled Congress. Paul Krugman wrote that the Sanders movement has a “contempt for compromise.” Hillary Clinton has an impressive command of policy, the details, trade-offs and how it gets done. Unlike Hillary, Bernie has not raised any money for down-ticket Democrats, showing himself to be less of a team player. When questioned about this proclivity, he told a reporter to go fuck himself. This does not demonstrate a presidential temperament. Bernie has certainly tapped into a wellspring of voter dissatisfaction, but anger does not make a case for the ability and experience to govern.

  • FeasibilityPowered by Unicorn Farts

“Every time Bernie is challenged on how he plans to get his agenda through Congress, he responds that the “political revolution” that sweeps him into office will somehow be the magical instrument of the monumental changes he describes. This is a vague, deeply disingenuous idea that ignores the reality of modern America. With his narrow power base and limited political alliances, how does he possibly have a chance of fighting such entrenched power?” Hillary has demonstrated that change requires incremental progress. She has the greatest chance of passing legislation. In fact, her plans to rein in Wall Street have more teeth. Bernie’s policy plans are not feasible. The New York Times called his economic plans “overly optimistic”, “wishful thinking,” “a fairy tale” and “a fool’s errand,” with estimated costs topping $30 trillion by 2026. According to The Washington Post, “no credible economic research supports Sanders’s economic assumptions and predictions.” Since Bernie’s “revolution” is implausible, he is simply “forming a mob of angry, misinformed people and then turning it on the likely Democratic nominee.”

3. Head of State

Who will represent the American people to the world and to themselves? The notion of REpresentation tells us the represented are not present. Both candidates have released racial injustice platforms that address important topics like mass incarceration, the school to prison pipeline, environmental racism, police brutality, and racial disparities in housing and education. Both candidates support same-sex marriage and LGBT rights. So how are they different?

  • Character:

Hillary is the most vetted, most scrutinized woman on the planet. Bernie’s history, on the other hand, is largely unknown. At her graduation from Wellesley, Hillary became the first student commencement speaker ever, giving a speech that made her right-wing military father cringe- in which she chided the guest speaker, a Republican Senator, for criticizing anti-war protests. At age 21 she had more courage and confidence to speak for the unrepresented than some people will ever have. In contrast, Bernie was at the “forefront” of nothing. He participated, but he never really put his butt on the line for his ideals. He never led the charge. Bernie didn’t even collect his first paycheck until he was elected at age 40. Hillary is a leader with a calm demeanor. Bernie has no social skills and he’s quick to boil over. A former New York Times editor who has covered multiple Clinton “scandals” and Republican smear campaigns over the last twenty years says Hillary is fundamentally honest and trustworthy. Politifact shows Hillary has the best truth-telling record of any of the 2016 presidential candidates. She’s been criticized for “flip-flopping”, but changing positions over time is not dishonest. As Dr. Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better.”  Gallup polls have listed her as the most admired woman in America a record 20 times.

  • Gender:glass ceiling breaker

Representation matters. Women make up half the population in this country but hold less than 20% of congressional seats and comprise less than 25% of state legislators. The US ranks 72nd in women’s political participation, worse than most industrialized countries. Having a black President created growth in our national racial discourse. A woman President would similarly change conversations about gender. It’s important for girls to see an example of a woman holding the highest political position in the land. I give Bernie credit for his feminism, but he is not a woman. There is a glass ceiling and Hillary is breaking it. Gender representation has been shown to increase legislatures’ responsiveness to women’s policy concerns. The science of power suggests her election would increase women’s political influence. 

Only in a sexist society would women be told that caring about representation at the highest levels of government is wrong. Only in a sexist society would women believe it.”-Jessica Valenti

  • Women’s Rights: womens rights are human rights

Hillary has defended women’s rights for decades. Her landmark speech “Women’s Rights Are Human Rights” at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing still resonates 20 years later. While both Bernie and Hillary support women’s rights, Hillary pushes harder. Planned Parenthood endorsed her because “we need someone who will do more than just defend reproductive rights – we need a steadfast champion who will fight to expand them, and do so not just when it’s easy, but also when it’s hard.” The National Organization for Women also endorsed Hillary because she has a stronger record as a women’s rights advocate.

“On the question of experience, the ability to enact progressive change, and the issue of who can win the general election and the presidency, the clear and urgent choice is Hillary Clinton.” -Rolling Stone


The Racist Roots of Bernie’s Sexist Tree

Bernie Sanders’ most robust group of supporters is white males, labeled “Bernie Bros” by the Atlantic, and described as “flustered, shouting, white guys.” polithilThe Bernie Bros are predominately young, white, liberal males who’ve demonstrated a pattern of sending derogatory and misogynistic messages to Clinton supporters (or anyone who disagrees with Sanders.) BernieBros express their grievances with Hillary in sexist ways mostly through their sanctimonious, lecturing, hectoring tone. A BernieBro is certain that you are not voting for Bernie because of your own willful ignorance. Their patronizing condescension mirrors the communicative weapons usually wielded by their ideological foes – those who diminish, demean, and infantilize women.

Bern The Witch
bernthewitchIn October, an event called Bern The Witch was created on Sanders’ official campaign website. The event stayed on his official site for five months, until it was removed in March. During this time, the hashtag #BernTheWitch was used. The organizer of the event holds no remorse for the sexist, gendered slur in his event title, and said “We’re gonna burn her at the ballot box”. Bernie himself may not have known about this event, but it does not excuse him from accountability. There is no counterpart on Hillary’s campaign because there are no events organized around disparaging Bernie based on his gender. If we hold Trump responsible for his supporters’ racist conduct, should we not be allowed to argue that Bernie is setting a tone for character attacks on Hillary like this one?

Bern The WitchThe word witch carries the baggage of anti-woman historical violence. There were no male witches burned. Burning was the preferred method of killing these women because it was considered more painful. Between 40,000 and 50,000 women were murdered because of witchcraft allegations.The word witch is a sexist, gendered slur & inherently carries the anti-women historical violence associated with it.

Bern The Witch TweetThe first woman to run for President of the United States, Victoria Woodhull, was also called a witch. That was in 1872. Why are gendered, sexist slurs still used 144 years later? Because they work. A 2010 study found that sexism directed at women in politics actually hurts them at the voting booth, as does ignoring the slurs instead of calling them out.

“Ffuck her reviseduck Her”
At a Trump rally in Chicago, Sanders supporters passed out free buttons saying “Fuck Her”, using the “H” from Hillary’s logo. They were also distributed at Bernie’s appearance in North Carolina. This is a symbol of our rape culture, where sex is portrayed as violent and violence is seen as sexy.

BernieBro Rage Pivots to Elizabeth Warren
When Bernie lost the Massachusetts primary, a BernieBro recommended rage be directed at Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has yet to endorse either Democratic candidate.  Senator Warren subsequently recorded over 9000 threats on her Facebook page.

By not opting to endorse their candidate, she was treated as a Warren Attacks man 1pariah who betrayed some imagined cause. As Maurice Cunningham, a UMASS professor said, “It isn’t Sen. Warren’s place to throw a life line to the Sanders campaign.”

Warren Attacks man 3For not endorsing Bernie, Elizabeth Warren was subjected to vitriolic hatred.

Excuse Me, I’m Talking
Excuse Me Im TalkingDuring a Presidential debate, Bernie interrupted Hillary by wagging his finger in her face and saying “Excuse Me, I’m Talking.” This is sexist for many reasons. First, double standards apply. If a woman tried to shush or interrupt a man in this fashion, she would be skewered by the press. Second, interrupting and over-talking happen as the result of a difference in gender rules. Women know it is rare to complete a whole sentence without being interrupted by mansplaining in a condescending or patronizing manner. Bernie interrupted Hillary three times as often as she interrupted him.  He is Excuse Meepitomizing what we’ve been socialized to accept: that male speech is more important or should dominate. Girls are taught to listen politely and boys are taught to speak their mind. Parents are  twice as likely to interrupt daughters as sons. Disruptive speech is used to establish dominant masculinity. Even male actors engage in more disruptive speech and garner twice as much speaking and screen time as their female peers. In the workplace, women find it difficult to be heard when they are continually interrupted. Male bosses are interrupted less often than their female counterparts.

The way Bernie repeatedly jabbed his finger in her direction reminded some women of the aggressive way some men invade their personal space. This is not the first time Bernie’s body language has been problematic. His hands were literally in Fox reporter Abby Huntsman’s personal space so much she was forced to push him away:

Does the inability or unwillingness to examine his body language, tone, and actions for hints or indicators of sexism tell us all we really need to know?

Rape Fantasies
rape fantasies
A few decades ago, Bernie published an essay which included the following rape “fantasies”:

A man goes home and masturbates his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused. A woman enjoys intercourse with her man- as she fantasizes being raped by 3 men simultaneously.  Do you know why newspapers with articles like ‘Girl 12 raped by 14 men’ sell so well? To what in us are they appealing?’’

rape fantasyThis is problematic on many fronts, regardless of when he wrote it. He  implies that men fantasize about raping women and that women fantasize about being gang raped. Abuse and rape are violent crimes. Women who are “tied up” are done so against their will.  Yet this essay has largely been ignored. Sanders gets excused – because he’s a liberal. Normalizing and condoning sexual violence is not Presidential.

Racist Roots
Bernie is the Senator of Vermont, one of the whitest states. His base has been and continues to be white males. In 1963 he attended the March on Washington. Contrary to popular opinion though, he did not march with Martin Luther King Jr from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. In fact, Bernie’s participation in the Civil Rights movement was brief and localized and effectively ended in 1963.  What has he done since then?  He hightailed it to Vermont, a phenomenon so common it’s referred to as “white flight” (when people migrate from racially mixed to more homogenous regions).

Lauren Burke from The Root pointed out that “Sanders’ record in Congress, which began in 1991 in the House and 2007 in the Senate, is not deep on the type of racial-justice work he’s discussing on the campaign trail today.”  But if you talk to any BernieBro, they will beat you over the head with the infamous picture of Bernie getting arrested as if it proves he found the Civil Rights Movement. As Propane Jane aptly summarized it, “He’s running on a record of civil rights advocacy that can only be believed by people who were not actually there.

While Bernie was Senator for Vermont, the black leaders in Vermont stated they were invisible to him. A civil rights organizer said Bernie was really  dismissive of anything that had to do with race and racism, saying they didn’t have anything to do with income inequality. When he was confronted by Black Lives Matter activists, he fumbled badly at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix.

Bernie GhettoIn a recent Presidential debate, Bernie said white people don’t know what it’s like to live in a ghetto and don’t know what it’s like to be poor. When questioned, Bernie doubled down on his comments by saying: “I don’t want to be lectured about talking about poverty, whether it’s white, black, Latino”. This is problematic on many fronts. First, it is inaccurate: most poor people in America are actually white; in fact 8 million more. Second, it reinforces harmful stereotypes. Third, systemic racism impacts far more than poverty. It impacts education, the school-to-prison-pipeline, employment, housing discrimination, and criminal justice. It includes patterns where whites have been enriched by the labor of people of color (like the BernieBros’ demand for black votes). Sanders sees racial inequality as less important than economic inequality and he shouldn’t.

Mississippi BerningDuring the Mississippi primary, the BernieBros created a #MississippiBerning hashtag. “Mississippi Burning” refers to the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers in Mississippi, the subsequent court case, and film of the same name. The hashtag was inappropriate, extremely offensive, and naturally led to outrage.

Bernie continues to alienate the coalition that elected President Obama. He has expressed his disappointment with President Obama for making “weak” deals with Republicans. Paul Krugman wrote that the Sanders movement has a “contempt for compromise,” yet cultivating those relationships is exactly what’s required to navigate legislative deals with a Republican-controlled Congress.

Bernie is running on the platform that money is the root of all evil. He doesn’t recognize or validate the significant oppressive forces of racism, sexism, and prejudice. As Ta-Nehisi Coates from The Atlantic asked, “Why should black voters support a candidate who does not recognize Jim Crow and its legacy were not merely problems of disproportionate poverty?”

The sexist pattern Bernie and his supporters follow of talking down to women as if they just don’t understand is also seen with People of Color. Janell Ross from the Washington Post pointed to the “racial cluelessness, an infantilizing and almost colonial kind of condescension about policy, and a tendency to react to anyone who points that out by supplying even more evidence of racial tone-deafness, self-ordained intellectual superiority and completely open displays of various forms of outright bigotry.”

We’ve come to expect this type of superiority from Republicans, but these are supposed to be progressives! Charles M. Blow from the New York Times also observed their grossly offensive “not-so-subtle, not-so-innocuous savior syndrome and paternalistic patronage.”

The Foundation of Bernie’s Support is White Male Rage
angry white men

The sexism and racism of the BernieBros is fueled by feelings of  dissatisfaction, emasculation and humiliation. These guys refuse to admit they’ve been handed privilege all these years by a world that puts white men on top. Sociologist Michael Kimmel, author of “Angry White Men” calls this “Aggrieved Entitlement.”

A prime example is the “Bernie or Bust” movement to either a) not vote at all or b) vote for Trump if Hillary wins the nomination. Bernie or Bust is a stance based on privilege, since the sexist, racist policies of Trump will hardly affect their white male lives.bernie or bust Over 58,000 people have pledged to write-in Bernie’s name in the general election if he loses the Democratic nomination. They describe themselves as “Revolting against Plutocracy.” Ironically, in reality, their stance will (as Bill Maher said) “help elect a plutocrat (Trump) who is revolting.”

take ball go home

1 in 10 Sanders supporters think Trump is the next best thing to their candidate and reported being motivated by an anti-Hillary feeling (sexism). These voters were white, low-income men. While Hillary’s supporters are mature adults who openly state they’ll vote for the Democratic nominee, the hyper-masculine combative BernieBros plan to take their ball and go home.

If you consider yourself a progressive, help raise awareness of the sexism and racism we’re seeing on the Left. Talk to your fellow progressives. We need to hold Bernie and his supporters accountable and help them see what they do not: that their sexist, racist behavior has no place in the progressive movement and will only continue to alienate us and push us toward his opponent.