I’ll start by admitting this article is pointless. By this stage in the primary season, people who are backing Sanders will back him no matter what emerges about his past, his record, what current awful statements he makes, who he allies himself with.
This all started out innocently enough. People despise Hillary Clinton, and she’s worthy of that—an utterly despicable barnacle, with the distinction of having been around longer than any of the awful garbage beings running to be the American President. She’s committed more crimes, been responsible for more death, more advocacy for racism and genocide than any other candidate currently in the race. She makes Trump look like a toddler marching around in his father’s Grand Dragon hood and jack boots. Cruz would barter with the devil to be so utterly offensive to Muslims and the devil would be like, this is the best I can do, but its no Hitlary.
What began as a protest vote for a wide spectrum of left of center Americans, and then a mild tumescence over the mainstream popularity of a self-described “socialist”, has taken on a life of its own and become a cult phenomenon as immune to logic and evidence as anything since the Pet Rock.
Certainly, for many, myself included, Sanders’ vague and constantly expanding platform has seemed ideologically cannibalistic—an opportunistic meme that melds into Black Lives Matter and wealth distribution critique as the occasion merits. Sanders went from arrogant ambivalence on issues of police and economic violence against Black communities, to making viral social media with “real people in the hood” montages and branding—arguing that Sanders’ race blind amorphous policy platform is the logical political extension of the last several years of bottom up street organizing. Like some kind of sci-fi space virus, Sanders has subsumed it all—Fight for 15, Black Lives Matter, anti-war, even BDS. Sanders’ platform is a mix tape mashup of the greatest hits from the last few years of organizing around economic and state violence issues that affect most people of color.
All that being said, and from my own experience arguing until my eyes have popped out of their sockets, the Sanders Delusion is impossible to revoke once it’s taken hold. Here are just some of the incredible real facts that should wipe out Sanders’ supposed reputation for honesty and the completely contrived reputation for incorruptibility. But they won’t.
Sanders is A Fundraiser for the Democratic Party:
Yes, that same Democratic party that Sanders’ has taken great pains to describe himself in opposition to. A fairly well ignored story by CNN, recounts how Sanders’ regularly hosts events for top donors to the Democratic Party, those who have given more than 30,000 to senate campaigns. Sanders has apparently never offended a donor there, despite that at least 25% of the attendees are from the financial sector.
This Insanely Dishonest Sanders’ Campaign Video Where Tulsi Gabbard, an Islamophobe and Bloodthirsty Warmonger Pretends to be Anti-War.
Just last year, Gabbard was salivating at news that Russia was bombarding Syria, and ridiculing Obama for not being ahead of Putin in bombing another state. Despite seeming an unlikely ally of Sanders, Gabbard quit the Democratic National Committee to join his campaign [and is probably key to his Hawaii victory]. In this youtbe embodiment of dishonesty, she pretends to be a non-interventionist supporting Sanders’ because of his supposed anti-war stance. The ad pulls out every manipulative trope in the book: from using Gabbard’s looks, dressing her up in a wetsuit; to a montage of veterans of color, to Gabbard faking getting choked up remembering her Iraq War service. It’s impossible to believe that anyone who knows Gabbard could look at this ad with anything but a deep level of dread about Sanders’ capacity to play gross, dishonest politics.
But there’s more. Gabbard has repellant conservative politics. When she was a Honolulu councilperson, Gabbard proposed legislation to seize the possessions of homeless people—which may have also have been done as a constitutional fig leaf for running over Occupy Honolulu protest camps. Her father, whose reputation she heavily relied on in her own political career, is a notorious homophobe. And so is she. In her defense of him, she once replied:
“It’s clear to me that you’re acting as a conduit for The Honolulu Weekly and other homosexual extremist[s]…”
Sanders Wanted to Address the AIPAC Conference, But Was Not Allowed to Video Link for His Speech:
Perhaps the crown jewel of progressive and leftist support of Sanders was his supposed refusal to attend the yearly parade of fealty to Israel, the AIPAC conference. Although media went with the much more sensational story that Sanders had skipped AIPAC, Sanders himself was pretty honest about why he wasn’t going to be there in person. He had to campaign in western states. Winning these states is critical to Sanders argument that he’s a serious contender for the nomination, despite facing an almost impossible to surmount gap with Clinton.
He requested a video link, as Gingrich and Romney had done in previous years, but was told the practice had been discontinued for presidential candidates. Sanders published his proposed AIPAC address, which was greeted with a great deal of wonder and awe, even by people involved in pro-Palestinian and BDS politics. As befits the oath of fealty to AIPAC Sanders was taking by sending his speech to the conference, any marginal acceptance of Israel’s brutal colonial project was followed by a series of criticisms of Palestinians for fighting their colonizers.
Sanders’ Communications Director for his First Term in Congress was Simultaneously Working for AIPAC:
Despite it being a possibly devastating blow to Sanders’ performative nobility considering the AIPAC no show, media completely ignored the fact that Joel Barkin, Sanders’ Communications Director during his first term in Congress was simultaneously working for AIPAC at the time.
Okay, suspending disbelief, ethics and morality, let’s say there’s nothing wrong with that. But it totally undercuts the idea that Sanders’ has a problem with AIPAC. His letter certainly says no such thing, that’s an invention of his advocates. The claim’s lack of substance is only highlighted by this association.
Sanders Called BDS Anti-Semitic:
Yes, he did, no ifs, ands, or just a little bits. When asked by MSNBC leftist replicant Chris Hayes if he agreed with Clinton’s foul comments about BDS, Sanders said he did agree, and that there was some level of anti-Semitic motivation for BDS. He elaborated that Israel was only one of many bad actors in the world—discounting that it is the recipient of the single-largest US aid package, totaling anywhere from 3 to 15 billion dollars yearly. He continued that it would be a “mistake” not to recognize the likelihood of anti-Semitism animating BDS work.
There’s even more, of course. Sanders’ AIPAC letter turned out to be an illuminating look into both the nature of Sanders’ rhetoric and his apparent intentions as Commander in Chief. The letter also calls on greater involvement in Syria, putting on the robes of reluctance and patriotic duty that have shepherded American men and women, mostly of color, into killing mostly people of color in other countries for over a century. Moreover, Sanders explicitly masks the US’s role in the Saudi decimation of Yemen, where Obama green lighted the Saudi attack, sold the state 1.5 billion dollars in bombs to continue the bombardment and has been advising and providing strategic aid since its inception.
As I said, I don’t expect any of these facts to undermine Sanders’ great and diverse spectrum of support which even includes people on the left who reject the electoral process. Sandernistas seem ambivalent to the argument that there should be a rational basis for their cherished image of Sanders, rooted in his record and his current statements and policy proposals [or lack of them]. In this context, the “Birdie Sanders” meme, is probably the closest thing to a rational basis for supporting Sanders I’ve heard from Sanders supporters—yes, a bird did actually land on Sanders’ podium, as opposed to all the other things that supporters think he did or said that actually haven’t happened.
Some argue that the symbolism of Sanders himself, a self-professed “democratic socialist” who vaguely supports Black Lives Matter and a living poverty wage for the nation’s poor [or in Sander’s rhetoric, Black people] will have far-reaching implications for amplifying ideas around racial justice, white supremacy, imperialism and capitalism. But what is more likely is that Sanders pantomime of those ideas, coupled with his actual rejection or perversion of them in later actions and discourse, will likely have the opposite effect—teaching a new generation that capitalism and economic justice aren’t mutually exclusive, or that modest economic tweaks to the low-wage economy are de facto reparations for Black people. This recycling of left-leaning language that lacks substance or policy components is what is responsible for modern progressive and liberal ideology in the first place. Rhetoric, funneled through the charisma of personalities, lacking structure, rigor or tether to real world actions.
You can already see this process in action on Palestine. In his AIPAC address, Sanders recycles nearly every harmful and false trope about Palestinians, skillfully folding it into his pantomime of humanitarian concern. He intimates that somehow Palestinians have not recognized Israel’s right to exist, despite some Palestinian leader somewhere having done it for the past twenty years straight on a nearly weekly basis. He reinvents Cast Lead as a response to Palestinian attacks, and he quite sneakily folds this into care-fucking about Israel’s “over-reaction” in Gaza.
Sanders calls on Palestinians to renounce their armed struggle against Israeli colonialism, with only the word of the state that funds that oppression to go on. ONLY if Palestinians stop completely defending their homeland, before any proposal or peace initiative is even on the books, will the US demand Israel to stop its “over-reactions”. There is no commitment to end the quotidian day to day reality of occupation, which is to be addressed through some alchemy that like so many other Sanders’ policies, hasn’t been hammered out yet.
Despite having been more specific perhaps about what is regularly reported in America’s papers of record about the facts of Israeli colonialism, Sanders prescription is the status quo as it was stated and restated by George W. Bush throughout his two terms. And perhaps more important than any of these weasely constructions, Sanders occults the most salient reality–that Israel continues its regime ONLY through US and western financial and diplomatic support. Its the biggest lie of them all, the “honest broker” mythos that has ruled inaction for Palestinians since 1988, and Sanders preserves it like a good soldier.
Sanders support leads to a bad bargain with the devil in the name of mainstreaming supposed socialist values. You can already start seeing it in motion. Sanders shat on BDS publicly and eagerly, leaving his enthused Arab, Palestinian and pro-Palestinian supporters looking like prize assholes. Thus, proponents of BDS fighting University of California’s attempt to brand Pro-Palestinian discourse anti-Semitism, found themselves in an awkward position—fighting for the life of their organizing freedom while simultaneously supporting a candidate who agrees wholeheartedly with the Regents. Rather than learn the lesson that supporting politicians without demanding concrete actions in return always leads to the same place, a new generation of activists came, once again, to the same conclusions as the last did with Obama, and the one previous with the first Clinton dynasty.
This is especially heart-breaking after the last 12 years of Democratic party shenanigans seemed to teach an irrevocable lesson that you can’t trust politicians or electoral politics. Ever. All that is dust in the wind now, just waiting for the new flavor of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and now Sanders to dispel all that disillusion and the opportunity to become excited for electoral saviors again.
I’m pretty confident Sanders will lose the nomination. He will give a speech not unlike the many given by Kucinich, pleading for unity against the horrible Republicans who seem to do the same things, but lack Sandersian rhetoric or progressive flavor. Former Sanders supporters will convince themselves that Sanders successfully injected his platform into Clinton’s and will probably become enthusiastic supporters. But even if this scenario proves false and Sanders wins the primaries and then most likely the general, things may even be worse, as new generations of Sanders-Simulacra defend his every gross imperial move and racist policy, making current Obama-bots look like amateurs. If you think you’ve seen this all before, you’re absolutely right.