by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The sectarian fighting between Bernie Sanders fanatics and Hillary Clinton advocates came to a head last week when Sanders supporter and progressive blogger Matt Bruenig lashed out at prominent Clinton backers on Twitter.
The first target was The Nation writer Joan Walsh, who had penned an oh-so thoughtful article on how white Bernie fans must accept the will of Hillary’s minority voters. Walsh argues Sanders’ supporters are suffused with white male entitlement in their bid to crown their second-place candidate the party’s nominee.
Upon tweeting out her article, Walsh was greeted with derision from Bruenig. …
… Words were exchanged between the two lefty writers afterwards, which brought in Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden, a prominent Clinton backer. Words were exchanged between the two liberals over welfare reform, geriatrics lecturing young people, and other hot topics before Bruenig labelled Tanden, “Scumbag Neera.”
That was a bridge too far, apparently, and Bruenig was soon out of a blogging job at the lefty think tank Demos. The appearance of a young Bernie supporter losing his job over a Twitter argument with a powerful Clinton ally caused a major controversy on the Left and became the topic for many takes at liberal publications. …
… One implication of this event is how identity politics doesn’t just influence how Democrats campaign, it determines status on the Left.
The fact that a powerful, well-connected head of a major think tank can play the helpless victim against a blogger just because she’s a “woman of color” indicates what kind of priorities animate the modern-day Left. It’s no longer about class warfare, it’s much more centered on identity.
Throughout the Democratic primary, Clinton has built her campaign strategy on this line of thinking, and she and her surrogates have utilized it frequently against Sanders. The reason why Bernie has a problem with Hillary’s tough stances on guns? Because he’s a sexist who can’t handle loud women! The reason why internet Bernie Bros disagree with Hillary’s female pundit fans? Because they’re misogynist pigs! The reason why the Bernie movement won’t give up and back the likely nominee already? They can’t stand minority voters checking their white male privilege!