No, supporters of Bernie, this hashtag was not created by the Clinton campaign. It was created by democrats and progressives who have changed their mind about voting for Bernie, who are calling him out on his BS, and from women and feminist allies who are fed up with death and rape threats from Bernie’s hardcore fans.
Personally, I have been campaigning for Bernie Sanders since August. Not just on social media, but in my local community as well. I handed out flyers, I tabled at local events, my band played at a Bernie Sanders fundraiser, and I voted for him in my state’s primary back in March. And while it’s been a good run and a close race, he will not get the nomination. Enough delegates aren’t left for him to do so, no matter what his campaign and supporters want you to think. And at this point, honestly, I’m glad he has ended up losing. Because his fanbase has gotten out of control, and not just these individuals but also Bernie’s response to them is what has ruined the Sanders campaign for me.
Over the last weekend, violence broke out at the Nevada Democratic Convention. It was alleged that votes were unfairly counted, Clinton supporters were given an unfair advantage, and that they unjustly ended the convention early. However, Politifact Nevada found any allegations that fraud occurred to be false. Sanders supporters knew of the convention rules well ahead of time, more Clinton supporters showed up, and they had to end the convention early for security reasons, for Sanders supporters were yelling threats from the floor and being overall disruptive. Now, I am not one to back the concept of respectability politics, but there’s a difference between anger in your activism and throwing a tantrum when you do not get your way.
After the convention, Sanders supporters continued to threaten the Nevada Democratic Party Chairwoman, Roberta Lange, after releasing her address and private cellphone number online. And not just threatening her, but her children and grandchildren. This is something progressives might expect from Trump supporters, but no. Not this time. And it is definitely not the only time Clinton supporters or anyone who has spoken out against Bernie has faced the wrath of his worshippers.
Bernie’s response? Of course his campaign does not condone violence, but he also appears to excuse his violent supporters’ behavior by essentially saying it’s the darnn establishment’s fault that his supporters are so angry. I see this as “Well, if you would have just done what they wanted, they wouldn’t have reacted that way.” This is immature and petty, as well as harassment, coercion, and violence.
Recently, I too made the mistake of speaking out against Bernie Sanders on the internet. I said that as a feminist and survivor I can no longer support a candidate that will not stand up against the harassment of and violence against women. The result?
And while that was definitely the worst of it, these tweets were certainly not the least. To put it colloquially, my mentions blew the fuck up. There were users saying that Hillary has done nothing for me while Bernie has done everything, you know, the usual. Others attacking feminism and “rape culture,” alleging there are no “survivors” of rape, just girls who get drunk at parties and have one night stands. Some users even claiming that Bernie is a better feminist than Hillary Clinton, which is interesting considering he actually has no idea what it is like to be a woman and face women’s struggles. Apparently, this is what Bernie’s supporter base is made of. I find it hypocritical that so called peace-loving, progressive supporters of Sanders seem to threaten so much violence against those that disagree with them, but I guess I’m just a corporate shill.
My support for Bernie Sanders ends now. My support ended the second Sanders chose to defend his failing campaign and violent supporters over the childish antics at the Nevada Convention and the harassment of women. My support ended when I spoke out about the death and rape threats Bernie supporters keep sending to people, only to have more sent my way. As someone who has received a fair amount of death and rape threats in my short lifetime, and has even had individuals act on these death and rape threats, I cannot and will not support a candidate that is not taking this violence seriously. I am a feminist and advocate for women first, always. I do not care if I get even more hate over this, even if it is from my peers, even if it is from the people I campaigned for Bernie with who will probably consider me a traitor. I am no stranger to online harassment, after all, I am a woman on the internet.
And Bernie, as a former avid supporter, I beg you to cut the crap. Because, yes, your supporters absolutely do have a “penchant for violence” when they continually harass Clinton supporters and anyone who disagrees them with death and rape threats. You have effectively lost, the least you can do is stand up for women, seeing that you claim to be an advocate for women’s rights.