I could swear I just wrote about vile leftists shouting at their perceived opponents. Today the NY Times has a write-up on the Bernie Bros. who have been attacking and in some cases making threats (both online and off) against people who fail to support their candidate. Democrats who have been on the receiving end say these attacks often turn ugly in ways that don’t seem to fit with the self-proclaimed progressive view of the people making them.
Some progressive activists who declined to back Mr. Sanders have begun traveling with private security after incurring online harassment. Several well-known feminist writers said they had received death threats. A state party chairwoman changed her phone number. A Portland lawyer saw her business rating tumble on an online review site after tussling with Sanders supporters on Twitter…
“Politics is a contact sport,” said Bakari Sellers, a former South Carolina State legislator who supported Ms. Harris in the Democratic primary. “But you have to be very cognizant when you say anything critical of Bernie online. You might have to put your phone down. There’s going to be a blowback, and it could be sexist, racist and vile.”
In recent days, he said, one man sent a profanity-filled private message on Instagram, calling Mr. Sellers, who is black, an “Uncle Tom” and wishing him brain cancer…
For some perceived Sanders critics, there has been mail sent to home addresses — or the home addresses of relatives. The contents were unremarkable: news articles about the political perils of centrism. The message seemed clear: We know where you live…
While Mr. Sanders’s poll numbers with nonwhite voters are stronger than many rivals’, female and nonwhite Sanders critics say they continue to face disproportionate harassment from ostensibly progressive forces. “People talk about white dudes getting radicalized on the right,” said Imani Gandy, a senior legal analyst for Rewire.News behind a popular Twitter account, @AngryBlackLady. “I feel like white dudes in Brooklyn are being radicalized too.”
All of this behavior has left a lot of Democrats feeling nervous about where the campaign is headed. The attacks from Sanders die-hards are often lobbed against his more moderate rivals—Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden—rather than at Republicans. That could make the next few months very dicey to navigate without a protracted battle within the party.
Officially, Sanders is against this sort of thing, telling supporters last year, “I condemn bullying and harassment of any kind and in any space.” But his supporters and even his staffers don’t seem to have received the message.
“You can’t control these folks,” RoseAnn DeMoro, a vocal Sanders supporter and former leader of National Nurses United, said of his online base. “I should say, ‘us folks.’”
RoseAnn DeMoro was the leader of the California Nurse’s Association which pushed for Medicare for All in California back in 2017. DeMoro’s group was so aggressive that the entire Democratic caucus in the state assembly wrote a letter demanding that she stop harassing lawmakers. “We have become alarmed and disheartened by bullying tactics, threats of violence, and death threats by a few who disagree with the decision of Speaker Anthony Rendon to postpone the advancement of SB 562,” the Democrats wrote. Despite reports that Speaker Rendon was getting death threats, DeMoro brushed off the complaints:
— RoseAnn DeMoro (@RoseAnnDeMoro) July 2, 2017
Again, this isn’t some fringe Sanders supporter, this is who has been discussed as a possible cabinet pick in a future Sanders administration. And really is it so shocking that a guy who has been calling for a socialist revolution for decades attracts cranks who want to stir things up by any means necessary? Indeed, some of Sanders’ campaign organizers seem eager to return to the examples of previous socialist revolutions:
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) January 25, 2020