Disturbing the Nest: My Brief Experience with the Bernie Sanders Revolution

ClintonvSanders.jpg

 

Call it an ad hoc anthropologic exercise. One minute you’re busily going through your daily routine, getting the kids breakfast, making sure they’re not setting fire to the furniture, the next you’re delving into the world of the Bernie Sanders Revolution on Facebook.

In early January, CSPAN posted a seemingly innocuous question on their Facebook page: “Democrats only: Who do you think will win the Iowa Caucuses next month?”

My response was simple: “Hillary Clinton. By a small margin.”

The attacks were swift and brutal. Within seconds I was labeled an unintelligent, corporate puppet, a sheep, a shill, and a host of other names I hadn’t been called since high school. Someone stated, “Funny, he doesn’t look retarded.”

I was floored.

I didn’t even say I wanted her to win, I just suggested she would. What the hell did I do wrong?

A Hive Mind and Swarm Intelligence

I soon learned that my experience wasn’t unique. Scrolling down, I witnessed other commentators being berated and humiliated in the same way. The Bernie supporters crowded the comment section with hashtags and long blocks of text, aggressively asserting the purity of their candidate over his opponent. They quickly dominated the conversation, leaving little room for anyone else.

I spent the next two months studying the habits of what some have called the “BernieBots,” and discovered that they behave like a hive of bees, often swarming their enemies in an array of familiar and predictable attacks, while protecting their queen; or in this case, their king. They move through Facebook as a mass, jumping from one post to the next, filling the comment sections with unsolicited rhetoric and ideology. It is impossible to ignore their buzz on the Internet.

The hive mind and swarm intelligence are not new ideas. Both were conceptualized as a way to describe the behavior of artificial and natural systems that work independently under a collective idea or common goal. In this case, the goal of the hive is to elect Bernie Sanders into the presidency and usher in a political revolution. The system is both artificial and natural. Its members are real people operating within the cybernetic online environment. Though the Sanders campaign has no formal association with the hive, it is at the center of its unorganized structure, and informally coordinates with its online presence when the need arises.

Membership in the hive isn’t limited to any specific category of age or gender. Though the notion prior to my investigation leaned in the direction of a predominately male makeup, I found all ages and genders represented in the collective. Economic and social class were impossible to determine. There is though, a lack of diversity reflective of the voting results in the democratic primary so far.

There are inconsistent degrees of participation. Some members of the hive will post sporadically, while others have made it their full time job. I was able to identify at least a core group of serial posters that made it a point to post duplicate comments on every political Facebook article from every major news outlet, newspaper, and cable news channel.

The Sanders swarm spams political news outlets with a mixture of facts and misinformation that they spread freely and without nuance. Online, they are running a separate campaign from Sanders that has little to do with his policies and everything to do with destroying the reputation and legacy of the collective’s favorite target: Hillary Clinton.

The hive can operate anywhere on Facebook, though it is worth noting that it has made a concerted effort to infiltrate posts made by the Clinton campaign and her supporters. Collective members instinctively take over the comment section of any post mentioning the Clinton name. This includes her husband and daughter.

The attacks vary by degree depending on the commentator. Some posters are content to use simple sexist remarks about Clinton’s appearance. “Hag” and “witch” are particularly popular. Others reorder Clinton’s name into derogatory terms like Shillary and HilLIARy. Hashtags are often created to attack Clinton personally (see #NotMyAbuela and #WhichHillary), but the hive also manipulates hashtags used by the Clinton campaign as a way of deriding her supporters (see #HillNo or #NotWithHer).

Another tactic used by the hive is to take a particular part of the news cycle and use it as an endless line of assault before an election. This first occurred just before the New Hampshire primary when Madeline Albright made the infamous, “Special place in hell . . .” comment. Sanders supporters also attempted to erode Clinton’s support among African-Americans by using the hashtag #IAmNotASuperPredator shortly before the South Carolina primary. Most recently, Clinton’s misguided comments about AIDS and the Reagan legacy are trending on Facebook and Twitter under the hashtag #HistoryByHillary.

Clinton’s history and record are under intense criticism by the hive. Her support of Henry Kissinger in a debate prompted a flurry of commentary, while the revelation of Sanders’ praise for Fidel Castro has gone largely unexamined. Members of the collective also blasted Clinton for being a “Goldwater Girl,” in her teens, but have defended an essay written by Sanders in 1972 that suggested women fantasize about being “raped by 3 men simultaneously.” This effort to relitigate the past is not merely limited to Clinton as an individual. She is also being held responsible for her husband’s policies and behavior while he held office in the 90s.

The hive acts aggressively when provoked by outsiders. Over the course of my two month investigation, I experimented with a variety of comments critical of Sanders and his policies. Unfavorable commentary towards Sanders or favorable conclusions about Clinton more or less produced the same response. Members of the hive attacked my intellect as subpar and below their standards. Followers of the movement often labelled me a millionaire or a paid employee of the Clinton campaign. I am neither.

If I remained passive the attacks became more brutal. Over time, I learned that the only way to defend myself was by meeting my aggressors with an equal measure of hostility. Any attempt at rational debate or discussion with the hive fell into a barrage of more insults, because the hive’s goal is to advance their agenda, not engage in discourse. There is a definite, “you’re either with us or against us,” mentality that is intolerant of opposing views. When faced with evidence that contradicts their assertions, they become dismissive and defensive.

Members frequently reminded me that it didn’t matter whether or not the attacks against Clinton were fair, or that Sanders’ policies had little chance of passing in Congress. All that mattered they stated, was the goal of a political revolution. One young man even quoted Machiavelli by simply writing back, “The end justifies the means . . .”

Insults and derogatory comments aren’t reserved to common individuals. Other enemies of the hive include groups and political figures that don’t implicitly subscribe to the collective’s agenda. Elizabeth Warren, a known sympathizer of Bernie Sanders’ cause, recently found herself besieged by Sanders supporters for refusing to endorse a candidate. The Human Rights Campaign currently has a 1.4 star rating on its Facebook page due to an influx of negative reviews from Sanders supporters angry at the activist group’s endorsement of Clinton.

Conspiracy theories are common. Any establishment organization critical of Sanders is assumed to be a financial contributor to the Clinton campaign. The DNC and Debbie Wasserman Schultz are said to have made Clinton the inevitable nominee. For proof, the hive points to debate schedules that were supposedly designed to limit voters’ exposure to Sanders. A petition calling for Wasserman Shultz’s resignation currently has over 57,000 signatures.

Under the collective’s consciousness the media is entirely delegitimized. Should a news outlet post an article critical of Sanders, a common reply is to simply state that, “Your bias is showing.” The hive also believes there is an intentional operation being orchestrated by the media to ignore Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. Other conspiracy theories include polling alterations, voting inconsistencies and Clinton campaign operatives supposedly suppressing the vote and stealing elections.

When Bill Clinton showed up to a polling location during the Massachusetts primary, Sanders supporters immediately began posting objections online. A petition to have Bill Clinton arrested and charged for this supposed crime currently has over 100,000 signatures. Similar protestations have occurred in the close contests of Iowa and Nevada.

Conclusion

This very unscientific experiment is designed to expose the new culture of division being created in the political environment of 2016. Though critical, the intention of this piece is to acknowledge the movement’s impact on the social media environment which has become its own dimension in contemporary politics. Similar patterns can be seen in the habits of Donald Trump supporters, though a more thorough investigation would need to be done to confirm the theory that they share the same characteristics.

I’ll leave it to history and others to pass judgment on this experiment’s legitimacy or its importance. Anyone can test or verify my conclusions by simply spending an hour on Clinton’s Facebook page or the Facebook page of any news media source covering Clinton.

The questions that remain concern the future. What happens to the Bernie Sanders hive should he lose the nomination? A large number of members have already committed to a #BernieOrBust movement, pledging to never vote for Clinton. Their alternative they say, is to write-in Bernie Sanders or vote for the Green Party candidate instead.

If Sanders wins, it is assumed that collective members will move its swarm to the Republican nominee. In perhaps a preview of things to come, violence erupted this weekend during a Trump rally. Though disputed by the Sanders campaign, it does appear that the Sanders hive played a critical role in organizing the protest that shut down the rally. In a short video posted to YouTube, protesters can be heard chanting, “Ber-nie, Ber-nie, Ber-nie.” Members of the collective are also taking credit for the results, and some Sanders campaign operatives are encouraging their supporters not to attend future rallies.

Whatever happens, it is doubtful that the hive will simply disperse and move on before or after November’s election. Many members are too invested to go quietly into obscurity. My opinion is that we ignore them at our own peril. What we risk is creating another generation of apathetic voters angry at the establishment and frustrated by the process. Instead, we need to find a way to engage them that breaks through their stubborn attitudes and welcomes them in so we can all work together.

Sadly, the only thing that may satisfy the hive is getting their way.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in culture, Election2016 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

65 Responses to Disturbing the Nest: My Brief Experience with the Bernie Sanders Revolution

  1. Pingback: A Toxic 2016 | The PostModerate

  2. Pingback: Solutions for a Revolution: How Bernie Sanders Supporters Can Save the Movement | The PostModerate

  3. Pingback: March Madness: High School Politics | The PostModerate

  4. Meredith says:

    I can’t believe what I read on Hillarys page sent by Bernie supporters they are the meanest ,rudest not to mention the most uninformed group of people that I have ever been aware of. The following is the one that I found particularly offensive ” wow glad to hear you position on abortion, too bad your mother didn’t feel the same way when she was pregnant with you.”

    Like

  5. Ann says:

    New one today. I shared an article from a site whose title said Clinton was the most honest. If you read the article, it’s based on PolitFact, the one that does the TruthOMeter. Simply talking about how it works, and determining that truth checking showed that Clinton, followed very closely by Bernie, told the most true statements. Anyway, shared on twitter. No hashtags, the only twitter handle was the news site, and Hillary’s name (no hashtag on that either) on my tweet. Minutes later, someone I don’t know, who I don’t follow and doesn’t follow me, suddenly retweeted my tweet with a comment. Look at this he said, this article is a lie, everyone knows Clinton is the biggest liar. Then a hashtag EstablishmentDems. I checked the guys tweets and it’s all about Bernie. The point here is that he must have been trolling looking for any mention of Hillary’s name to add to his feed, since he had no other connection to me, and there were no trending hashtags on my tweet. Normally I don’t, but I blocked him. Just pissed me off that this is his routine, and I wasn’t going to be part of it. Get a life, is my first reaction.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Read that article,too. I choose not to comment on it because I had already seen some of the ugly responses. Actually, I think I did respond to one comment that questioned the source. I said that PolitiFact was a respected entity. Then I stopped reading because I knew I would get the same old BS.

      Like

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Yeah, I’d say Politifact’s a pretty credible source. I’ve tried to stay off Twitter if I can. There’s just too much trolling and hate on there for me to deal with.

      Like

  6. Bernice Beth Steinman says:

    I have been called stupid, an ignorant Jew, a vagina and the c word that I won’t use. I have learned to just not respond most of the time. When I do, I try to be polite and give facts and hold them to facts – as much as is possible – not just opinions. It is really awful that the level of discourse is so coarse. Good luck with your project.

    Like

  7. Tom S says:

    Here’s one post from a Sanders supporter that was particular shocking, but a good example:

    Hillary… I’m just CURIOUS as to WHY “no one” has brought up the FACT that YOUR daughter – Chelsea Clinton is NOT Bill Clinton’s biological daughter – when in FACT it’s – Webb Hubbell… that is Chelsea Clinton’s biological dad! Most “should” KNOW this by NOW!! Btw… Bill Clinton is STERILE!! GOOGLE IT – Just sayin’…

    The woman that posted this later included a link to thepoliticalinsider.com – a good example of the kind of source that they look for in order to get material.

    Like

    • Tom S says:

      To be fair, it could have also been a Trump supporter, or just a really mean person. Unless they actually mention Bernie, it can be hard to tell.

      Like

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Wow. Just, wow. That’s a new one. I’ve heard some good conspiracies, but Bill not being Chelsea’s father is a new one. The Political Insider, huh? The Internet’s version of the National Enquirer maybe?

      Like

  8. Tom S says:

    Just the same experiences others have had on FB with direct name calling, personal attacks, and insults against the people who posted for Hillary, along with the often repeated innuendo, insinuation, unsubstantiated assertions, and guilt-by-association attacks on Hillary. They exchange negative memes and biased site links like trading cards, and when you request any rationale, you rarely get anyone thinking for themselves, instead you get some copied link that they usually haven’t read beyond its title.

    I request that they respond with evidence and rationale to have a debate on experience, proposals, policy, and proposals, but typically just get more rehashes of the personal attacks and accusations in response. In particular, I have tried for months to get different Sanders supporters to have a debate on the tax proposals on his web site – but to date, there have been no takers. The people that I have gotten to actually look at his proposals (it’s not easy) generally go back to responding with the same old personal attacks, or drop out of the discussion and move on.

    Like

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      I had a similar experience with a group of Sanders supporters that said I was selfish because I thought the Free Medicare for All plan was unrealistic and the tax savings were exaggerated because everybody pays a different price for their health insurance. I was eventually able to prove that the plan would cost my family $4,600 based on Bernie Sanders’s own numbers on his website.

      Their response: “You must be a member of the 1%.”

      Um . . . no.

      Like

  9. Machette Clark says:

    I had one bernieorbust say that if HIllary supporters didn’t stop supporting her, and bernie loss the nomination then she would be forced to vote republican and it wiould be the hillary supporters fault that they made her do it…smha…I have seen many of the other experiences you have posted above. It is so disgusting..it is a systematic bullying above description.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Thank you for commenting. I think as this primary gets closer to the end, it’ll get worse before it gets better. It’s a shame that people are blaming the voters for their candidate’s losses. A new trend that’s emerged over the past week is to say that, “Hillary won the Confederacy.”

      Given our history, comments like that are unfortunate.

      Like

  10. Ann says:

    Just wanted to share with you an article that a friend posted on FB, also declaring she would vote Green, if Clinton gets the nomination. If Clinton does, I don’t know how Bernie will convince all his supporters to vote for her. https://www.the-newshub.com/us-politics/i-wont-vote-for-clinton-and-will-encourage-sanders-to-run-a-third-party-bid-for-president

    Like

  11. Ann says:

    If you have a minute, take a look at the recent posts on FB from Hillary and from Bernie. Right now, Hillary’s post is about 3 hrs old. Bernie’s about an hour. Both a reference to last night’s primaries. Now look at the comments. In Hillary’s, for every congrats, there are tons of follow up replies, some from Trump supporters, most from Bernie’s. Many use the usual policy attacks, and many are bullys, name calling, etc. Then look at Bernie’s. The comments are almost entirely from his supporters. The very few trolls are generally from Trump. Also, many discussions are Hillary based, how to beat her, which is fine. But also more attacks, and also, how many are determined not to vote for her no matter what. Even the Bernie supporters who try to say that they must vote for her if she’s the nominee are attacked. To me, this is a good example of what we’re discussing. I’m sure Hillary supporters and other invade Bernie posts, but IMO, it is no where near the constant barage of attacks on Hillary posts. I do scan both from time to time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Thank you for your comment, Ann. One thing was sure to do when researching for this article was monitor both Clinton’s and Sanders’ pages. You are absolutely correct in pointing out the disparity. Had I noticed a similarity, I would have steered this article in the direction of bad behavior from both campaign’s supporters. Though, there are instances of Clinton supporters behaving badly on Facebook, they pale in comparison to the sheer number of Sanders supporters flooding Clinton’s posts.

      Like

  12. Melissa Hawley says:

    I have been attacked repeatedly by Brenie supporters. I say it because I SEE it. I continue to see Bernie supporters calling Hillary supporters “retarded”, “stupid” “supporting murder”, I was called a cunt for saying #imwithher, look at my posts. I don’t attack anyone. I state my beliefs and I also say I will stand with Bernie if he wins. But I’m a bitch, a slut, a cunt, Oh an my personal favorite “big fat cow of a dyke”, right on Bernie’s own page. So it’s NOT abullshit excuse. It’s my PERSONAL EXPERIENCE with Bernie supporters. Repeatedly.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. dearlilyjune says:

    Okay, the implication here is that only Sanders’ supporters act with this kind of hive mind. (You throw a token objection/rebuttal out with “Similar patterns can be seen in the habits of Donald Trump supporters, though a more thorough investigation would need to be done to confirm the theory that they share the same characteristics” but it’s done so quickly and dismissively as to be problematic.)

    But I think it’s unfair to associate this kind of behavior with the candidates themselves. This kind of behavior, instead of being driven by or in reaction to just one person, seems typical of internet commentary in general. Look at an article, for instance, on fat shaming, and you’ll find those who berate the overweight for being unhealthy and those who berate those commenters for being close-minded or medically inaccurate. Those comments get ugly–and cruel–quickly on both sides.

    The truth is, *any* hot-button topic is going to provoke extreme responses driven more often by passion than reason. Politics brings this to an ugly head because, in the form of a single person–the politician–issues as extreme as life or death–like capital punishment, gun control or abortion–have a representative. As such, the politicians’ debates, campaigns, policies, etc. really strike the basest of animal chords within us when we discuss them.

    I would argue that this “mob mentality” can be found in support of *any* candidate, Hilary or any Republican included. In the comments sections I’ve read, for example, just of Democratic websites, I’ve seen as many people accusing female commenters of voting between their knees when they choose Hilary as I’ve seen people accusing male commenters of being knee-jerk sexists when they choose Bernie. C’est la internet vie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Melissa Hawley says:

      Oh I like Bernie Sanders and I will have no issue voting for him if he gets the nomination. It’s his supporters that scare me and act like rabid dogs. Bernie himself I woukd be glad to vote for. I just think Hillary is best. If she doesn’t get the nomination, Bernie absolutely has my support.

      Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Thank you, and I appreciate your response. I think you do make some fair points, but the problem with your premise of a “mob mentality” has to do with purpose. In the case of a mob, it has no purpose. It has no design. It has no goal. It attacks at random without choosing a specific target.

      In the case of the Sanders Hive, there is a target. That target is Hillary Clinton. The goal is ruining her candidacy by destroying her reputation and demoralizing her supporters. The attacks aren’t random. They’re predictable in content, and are even associated with micro-movements started on Twitter and carried over to Facebook. These characteristics are unique from the examples you cited. As far as I know, there isn’t a specific goal of the fat-shamers, and issues like abortion and gun control transcend a single candidacy. They’re far from being as unified and coordinated.

      And saying, “C’est la internet vie,” is a little sad, honestly. Are you suggesting that we should turn a blind eye to this sort of behavior because that’s, “just how it is?”

      Doesn’t seem very revolutionary. . .

      Liked by 1 person

      • dearlilyjune says:

        Thank you for your response as well. I think you’re right that it was irresponsible of me to say “C’est la internet vie” as if I meant we should simply accept status quo. Instead, I only meant to convey that the nature of the internet–with its tendency towards anonymity–lends itself to faceless attacks. That doesn’t mean those attacks are right or should be tolerated.

        But again, I raise the point that the phenomenon you’re discussing doesn’t seem unique to Sanders’ supporters whether, by semantics, you want to call it a mob or a hive. (You’re right, too, that your metaphor is more appropriate.) My main point is that I have read Hilary supporters act the same way, as well as Trump supporters, Cruz supporters, Rubio supporters, etc. It is a problem with anonymous communication in general, one that needs to be considered from a sociological standpoint.

        Thank you, truly, for making me consider the issue further. I feel honored to have engaged in this dialogue with you, and I have learned much from your words today.

        Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Also, I do have on this blog an examination of the type of trolling you’re referring to, though it’s done in a different way. It’s a ten part series currently in its 7th week called TrollPatrol. You can find it here:

      https://postmoderate.com/2016/03/11/trollpatrol6-a-countdown-of-the-worst-people-on-social-media-this-week/

      Like

    • Agent Smith says:

      This is exactly it. It’s easy to think that only one side is behaving like that. When you toss 14-21 year olds into the mix this is how it is everywhere. This is the first ‘online’ campaign for a lot of democrats but I’ve been with online politics since Bush/Gore. This is how it has always been on the internet (and in person before) and this is it’ll how it will always be.

      I think that a lot of older people are now more ‘connected’ than they were in the past with how prolific Facebook has become. I think this may be their first foray into online comments where there is a large demographic represented.

      Penny Arcade made this comic in 2004: https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/22/herbs-and-spices

      Liked by 1 person

      • J. Lee Hugar says:

        Thank you for your comment. I’m actually not that old. 🙂 My point was not that only one side was behaving “like that,” but that it has taken on a new dimension in the Sanders Revolution. I was very active online particularly during the ’08 and ’12 campaigns. The Obama supporters didn’t engage in the type of disinformation dissemination that the Sanders people are doing today. Romney’s people weren’t as coordinated. They weren’t using hashtag campaigns to organize themselves online and to specifically target a particular candidate. Though I will admit to one exception, and that would be the birther movement. It could be that there are more people engaged as you have stated, but this was a simple study to get people talking. I think I accomplished that goal.

        I think if you actually browse through the comment section of a Clinton post and juxtapose that with a Sanders post, you’ll immediately notice a large difference in volume. I also think your off the mark on assuming 14-21 year olds are exacerbating the problem. In the Sanders Hive, I identified a wide array of ages and genders. In fact, when I challenged them on being purely a Millennial movement, I was swarmed by people over the age of 35 more than willing to correct me and hurl insults that were far worse than any young adult could come up with.

        And again, dismissing this behavior by stating, “This is how it has always been on the internet . . . and this is it’ll how it will always be,” is self-defeating. It’s also a reflection of the problems we’re having with both the Trump and Sanders people who are bleeding out into the real world. The more we turn a blind eye to the bullying, the vitriol, and the hatred, the harder it’s going to be to stop it.

        Like

    • kinga341983 says:

      No thats not true I have visited many and I mean many hillary site also have seen bernies and even tho u do see a few in bernies…they are no where near the amount that Hillarys sites have…I believe only because they feel threatened by hillarys winnings….

      Like

  14. Yolanda says:

    I have felt bullied to the point where I once deleted my comment. However, I realized I still had the right to voice my opinion. The latest nasty commenter scared me; his anger was palpable. I have decided to be the better person and no longer respond in kind, but that hasn’t stopped them. Now I just thank them for their comments and tell them to have a good day.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Anonymous says:

      Yolanda, I know what you mean. But then I think about how much hate and slandering Hillary has received for 25 years and see that she’s still standing. She’s tough. I admire that. Then I realize it doesn’t matter what they say. Be strong like Hillary!

      Joy

      Like

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      I guess that’s the best you can do, right? One thing I mentioned in the article is that being passive seems to encourage them. If I got into an argument with a Sanders supporter I’d often post back with evidence that contradicted whatever ridiculous claim they were making. For instance, a lot of them have been led to believe that Clinton started the birther movement. That’s been proven false, so I typically post the link below from Politifact to prove them wrong. A lot of times they’ll give up and go away.

      This works a lot, because most of what they believe about Clinton is made up and outright false. Google is your friend. 😀

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/sep/23/donald-trump/hillary-clinton-obama-birther-fact-check/

      Like

  15. Anonymous says:

    Sanders supporters either devolve into calling Hillary names, or they call her supporters names. I’ve been called a Hillbot, a blind idiot, an antirevolutionary, someone who is against progress, and much more. I’ve listened to Hillary be referred to as a duplicitous harridan, a witch(about the coin tosses), a bitch, a scandalous liar, a criminal, and much more. Sanders is the second best choice,but compared to Hillary, that’s all he can be. His supporters are all college students, the unemployed, and the unrealistic (but I thrice repeat myself). They expect his distopian fantasy to succeed, when he refuses to find common ground with anyone. He’ll be obstructed just like Obama. I have waited 20 years, since I discovered Hillary and her work, to vote for Madam President, and some false, misguided, decrepit “revolutionary” and his crowd of starry-eyed children is not taking that from me, Hillary, or the rest of the country.HILLARY FOR AMERICA!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agent Smith says:

      And my wife is a Physician. Last year we paid ~$80k in taxes. We are long past college and both gainfully employed. By calling “all” of his supporters unemployed you are engaging in the exact same name type of name calling that you disagree with.

      Like

  16. Roosa says:

    A friend of over 20 years, a person whom I greatly respected as a like minded liberal and an intellectual debate partner told me that I don’t understand feminism is I’m supporting Hillary. He expressed that I was being illogical because Sanders is the true feminist. When I explained my reasons for believing that Hillary has done more for women and children in her lifetime, and will continue to do more for women in areas of pay equity and reproduction rights, he devolved into calling me petty, foolish, lashing out, and hysterical because my voice is insignificant. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. We are no longer friends. All because I would not support Sanders.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Anonymous says:

    I have absolutely experienced this as a Hillary supporter. A close friend of mine recently posted a petition urging people to sign so that they can arrest Bill Clinton for going into a polling place a few weeks ago to purchase coffee and thank the volunteers there for their hard work. When I pointed her to another article stating in detail that he had done nothing wrong or illegal, she repeatedly told me that he needs to get arrested and that I should take my “Clinton-loving ways” out of her page. She then deleted all of my comments that showed written evidence that President Clinton had done nothing wrong. There have been more situations I’ve run into, but that one stuck out the most clearly. I’m a millennial woman who supports Hillary Clinton and believes in her due to her long-time track record of excellence in diplomacy and the advancement of human rights, but with the Sanders supporters, I’m made to feel like a pariah.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      I’ve had similar experiences over this issue. There have been numerous media reports stating that Bill Clinton didn’t break any laws or violate election rules. As I pointed out in the article, evidence that goes against the Sanders supporter narrative is dismissed outright. That’s a shame.

      Like

  18. PattyA says:

    I have experienced the exact same as many of the writers here. I have been unfriended on FB because of supporting Hillary and been called, “acrimonious bitch,” “moronic” and “uninformed.” I have seen posts that derided African Americans for “voting with one mind” and women for “voting with their vaginas.” But the very worst was seeing a mime of Hillary being roasted over an open fire with the slogan, “Feel the Bern.” This is a sick, fanatical and vicious bunch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Attacking someone’s intelligence seems to be the goto response. The stereotyping makes me uncomfortable. Democrats are supposed to be the party of tolerance and progressive attitudes. Thank you for sharing your experience.

      Like

  19. Anonymous says:

    One of my friends posted a meme about how Bernie Sanders had taken zero dollars from superpacs (implying that Clinton had wallowed in their $$). I posted an article from the Wall Street Journal about the superpac that does support Bernie, which also outlined some of his ties to Wall Street. I was told that the WSJ is not a credible source and that it was my responsibility to come up with a source they could accept. I suggested that they google “Bernie Sanders superpac” and choose one they could trust from the many sources that pop up. I was told that they were not going to do that because that was my job. (Of course I was told a lot of other rude things, too.) My observation is that any media source that posts a story that doesn’t fit their view of Sanders has been bought off by Clinton, is biased, or does bad journalism/reporting. I have had many encounters with Sanders supporters, and as someone above said, they are enough to make me hope that Bernie does not get the nomination so I don’t have to vote for him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Most of the Sanders supporters I’ve interacted with have abandoned the typical media sources for left-wing media like US Uncut and AlterNet. They seem to ignore the fact that those media outlets have a very specific agenda; mainly electing Sanders. I’ve heard their objections to WSJ and the NYT. I personally think these opinions are false. The negative and positive reporting of both candidates has been fairly even from both.

      Like

  20. Matt says:

    I am a bisexual guy and it amazes me how many white heterosexual men from my home state Vermont are schooling me in “what people like me” should vote. They went feral over the Nancy Reagan situation spamming me and even having the misogynistic gay supporters and their deluded girlfriends join in on it. I mean, the woman is running for president and a fellow former First Lady had died. She’s doing so much, to expect her to be infallible is ridiculous. I come home to multiple replies to comments (40-50). On posts where I can reply in pics I just post Clinton pics. I live in Burlington Vermont and took a sick day today just to AVOID them because they are all over in the workplace just going on and on about how “evil” she is. I can understand political debating but the misogyny is disturbing to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      The character assassination is particularly disturbing. Like you said, disagreeing politically is one thing. Personal attacks against Clinton, and unbelievably, her family and friends, is another. What they did to Human Rights Campaign’s Facebook page is deplorable.

      Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been told I was voting with my vagina also. The other things that bother me the most 1) if Bernie doesn’t get the nomination they will vote for Trump and it will be my fault….2) the constant accusations of Hillary cheating with super delegates as if this is her new idea, and how she always copies Bernie. They are stomping their feet and should take their toys and go home. I hardly get on her page anymore. It is especially bad on an election night. Bernie supporters are ugly win he wins and ugly when he doesn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      In one of my other posts on this blog, I likened the attitudes in the Bernie and Trump camps as a “collective temper tantrum” that we’ve all become victims of. I really hope Clinton can pull this primary out so we can all move on. The anger and hatred makes me really uncomfortable.

      Like

  22. Karen Hart says:

    They told me to get out from behind that computer you old hag. And then they tell me I am too stupid to vote. I am a retired school teacher that worked for 45 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Joy says:

    I have seen so many insults by Bernie supporters that I am completely turned off to him. I have seen his supporters call Hillary witch, bitch, hag, slut, cunt, crone, and harpy. These are all ugly gender specific terms. What does that tell you about these Bernie supporters? Even women call her these names and I see them calling female Hillary supporters these names as well. Do they not realize that they are doing a disservice to themselves by resorting to such horrible insults? It’s very sad.

    I have been collecting still shots of many of the type insults I’ve mentioned. Is there a place where I could share these?

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      I’ve seen a lot of the same comments Joy, and I have to say, as the father of two young girls, I find it very distressing to hear that type of rhetoric in politics. How are we supposed to motivate them to get involved if they see professional women being treated this way? I am hoping that by exposing their behavior, it will deter them.

      I would say that it’s not necessary to hold on to what you have. Facebook keeps and records all of these online discussions. Should anyone need to find them, they’ll be easily found.

      Like

  24. Ann says:

    I try to not post my support of any political candidates on FB, simply because I don’t want to subject my friends and family to my political leanings. I save most of that for Twitter. But most certainly do, and they run the gammit of candidates. But I do follow HRC on both, and certainly see exactly what you are describing. At first I was appalled at my conservative friends posts, and the nasty vitriol they either supported or actually took part in, spread across any liberal politician. I don’t think they thought through the comments, either by them or others, that not just name call the politician, but the supporters. Meaning, that saying ‘libitard’, for example, is what they are calling me. You’re my friend, right? So, I just ignored or if really offensive, blocked that particular post, but not the friend.

    But the Bernie supporters surprised me the most at first. Especially as you discuss, on HRC posts. My Bernie friends put up some pretty nasty stuff. But on the HRC posts, the general comments are so filled with hateful comments, that I can hardly find the HRC supporters mixed in. I think many HRC supporters have given up reading them, or have become gun shy about posting anything at all for fear of the retribution. I don’t bother anymore either. On Twitter I still share HRC tweets, but rarely engage. It’s not like me to not respond, so it’s extremely difficult. But there’s no point. No amounts of facts or reasoning make any difference. When I do comment, I try stick with reminding everyone that no matter the candidate, we have to come together and vote blue. That comment does get attacked, but not nearly as much. There is no reasoning with BernieorBust, either they think writing him in will work, or they don’t seem to care that this will ensure a GOP winner. This I can’t figure out.

    I certainly see that swarming HRC posts by some Bernie supporters seem to be a full time endeavor. It’s true for some Trump supporters too, but the Bernie bees reign. I’ve seen comments on HRC posts that are active for hours or a day or two, and the same Bernie supporters comment all through from beginning to end. I have entertained the idea that this is a coordinated effort purposely done. Somewhere, there is an organization who has put this hive together as part of the Bernie ‘revolution ‘. Certainly I have no proof of that. Sometimes I just console myself with the fact that millennials are simply far more involved in using social media in all forms than the rest of us.

    One thing I have learned, or should say is proven. There is no difference between either side politically when it comes to bullies, twisting facts, dog whistling, conspiracy theories and straight out lies. I am ashamed of many on my liberal side. But, I try my best to be positive, it’s my nature. I know I will vote for the Dem nominee. But I especially try very hard not to let it affect my relationships, life, and how I sleep nights.

    Liked by 2 people

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      I know how you feel Ann. The problem is that people are too protected by the anonymity that the Internet gives them. My feeling is, or at least I hope that, people are nicer to each other and more respectful in person.

      Thank you so much for this well thought out response.

      Like

      • Ann says:

        Agreed. However, that’s what surprises me about my FB friends. Do they not connect that nasty comments they make are also referring to me? Some really are acquaintances or old friends reconnected, so they kind of get a pass. But the closer ones, that’s the hard part for me. I think they really aren’t making the connection that the name calling includes me. I don’t know. As I said, I try to be a good FB user and ingore what I can.

        Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    I’ve also been told repeatedly not to vote with my vagina and that my recollection of history (particularly pertaining to Hillary’s policy positions and advocacy) was wrong (even when I provided primary sources supporting what I was saying) and they were mean about it. Gaslighting, bullying, misinformation, insults and revisionist history are how a great many are campaigning for him. It is horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J. Lee Hugar says:

      Thank you for your well thought out remarks. I appreciate your perspective. One thing that was lacking from my article was the sexist component to the whole Sanders movement. My feeling was that it was best to leave that to the feminist voices out there already writing about it.

      Like

  26. madison says:

    wow. I thought I was the only one. they told me I was voting with my vagina. how rude!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Brian says:

    Same here. Berniebro told me that as an African-American, I didn’t know what was good for me if I voted for Clinton. It was against my own self-interest.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve also been a victim of online abuse at the hands of Sanders supporters. Someone told me that I shouldn’t be allowed to vote because I was an ignorant stooge. They’re not nice people.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s