That Lasted Long: Bernie Sanders and Supporters Abandon All Pretense of Civility


Remember when 72 whole hours ago Bernie Sanders sent an email to his fans instructing them to “engage respectfully” with other Democrats (well, Democrats, since Bernie is not one)? In that message, he also warned his supporters not to talk about “past grievances.” He even got a line in about bullying.

But, let us do our very best to engage respectfully … about the issues we are fighting for, not about personalities or past grievances. I want to be clear that I condemn bullying and harassment of any kind and in any space.

Let it be noted that I predicted as soon as the story of this email came out that it was a pathetic, weak CYA move on the part of Bernie Sanders so that he would have plausible deniability when his backers inevitably chose to be their dickish selves.

Unsurprisingly, I was correct. Last night, both Sanders and his former campaign staff happily trampled all over his fake appeal to civility.

At the CNN town hall, Sanders were alternatively ignorant, arrogant, and belligerent. He chastised a woman for challenging him on his own words about his 2016 campaign’s culture of sexual violence that he said he didn’t have time to pay attention to because he was a “little busy.” He appeared not to know what reparations even meant. And he took an early, sore-loser shot at the Democratic party, whining that he was treated unfairly in 2016.

In the mean time, Michael Briggs, the mouthpiece - I mean spokesman - for Sanders’ 2016 campaign on Monday called former Hillary Clinton staffers “total ingrates” and “the biggest assholes in American politics.” What prompted such scathing, unadulterated hatred? Former Clinton staffers let out of the bag the secret Bernie and his man-of-the-people image crafters desperately wanted to keep: Sanders loves himself some private jet time.

Bernie Sanders demanded - and was acquiesced to - the use of private jets as essentially a condition for him to campaign for Hillary Clinton and to get his supporters on board (pun intended). It wasn’t standard practice, and the Clinton campaign had expected Sanders to fly commercial 90% of the time. But Sanders and his people would not budge, demanding a private jet every time.

“I’m not shocked that while thousands of volunteers braved the heat and cold to knock on doors until their fingers bled in a desperate effort to stop Donald Trump, his Royal Majesty King Bernie Sanders would only deign to leave his plush D.C. office or his brand new second home on the lake if he was flown around on a cushy private jet like a billionaire master of the universe,” said Zac Petkanas, who was the director of rapid response for the Clinton campaign.

The Clinton campaign spent $100,000 on Bernie’s self-aggrandizing obsession on private jets, but his love affair with the flying homes in the sky didn’t end with the 2016 general election campaign. Bernie Sanders’ own campaign has spent nearly $350,000 in private jet travel.

Perhaps this is why the nation’s most recognizable agitator against the “billionaire class” has never been caught on camera saying anything about living large on other people’s money.

Being defensive about sexual assault culture in your own campaign. Trashing the party whose nomination you seek. Having your former staffer call your former rival’s campaign staffers “assholes.” Master examples of class and civility, no?

Neither Bernie Sanders nor his high-profile supporters ever, for a second, intended to honor the suggestions in the Feb. 24 email to engage respectfully or refrain from whining about past grievances. In fact, like 2016, mean bro-culture and fingerpointing is likely to be hallmarks of Bernie’s 2020 campaign.

Let’s get ready.

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