Judith Armatta

Judith Armatta is a lawyer, journalist and human rights activist

How NOT to Win Over Bernie Bros

Bernie Bros and others who support and have supported Bernie Sanders are good people. They are not miscreant children so please do not lecture or condescend to them. They have good values just as Bernie does, just as you do. They don’t want a totalitarian state or a communist government. They want our communities to be healthy, educated, comfortably housed, well-fed, gainfully employed with a livable wage, and safe. That includes addressing the global warming and Covid-19 emergencies, prioritizing life on this planet over corporate profits.

If Joe Biden becomes the Democratic candidate for president and your highest priority is defeating Trump, bullying and criticizing Bernie supporters will not get them to the polls. How about recognizing their concerns as legitimate and having a discussion with them (and Bernie) about which ones should be included in the Democratic platform? How about valuing them (and their votes) and INVITING them to support Biden? Some pundits believe we cannot defeat Trump without courting disaffected Republicans and moderates, at the same time they disparage Bernie supporters as leftwing extremists. Does this make sense? Is this any way to unify opposition to Trump after a bruising primary?

I am not a Democratic Socialist, but I share many of their values. I supported Elizabeth Warren and am saddened on many levels that so few saw her brilliance, vision, compassion, and leadership. Now, in my seventies, I have spent nearly all my adult life voting AGAINST a candidate (Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Robert Dole, George Bush). Only twice did I enthusiastically vote FOR a candidate (Barack Obama despite disagreeing with some of his policies).

If Joe Biden is the Democratic candidate, I will once more vote AGAINST the Republican. I worry about Biden’s lack of courage and vision, evidenced in his leadership in passing the 1996 Crime Bill, a major factor in mass incarceration, and welfare “reform” that significantly increased the number of Americans living in poverty, as well as his opposition to busing to implement Brown v. Board of Education. I worry about his belief in compromise and bipartisanship given today’s Republican Part. Consider how it worked for Obama. I am not convinced he is the best candidate to defeat Trump, as I imagine him on a debate stage with this unscrupulous bully and liar. Will he be able to stand up to him? Still, I will vote AGAINST Trump.

Please, Biden supporters, have some respect for those who have a different view, but also want to hold onto and improve our democracy. ASK (politely). Don’t TELL.