By James Mellen
At this point in the 2020 election cycle every candidate has undergone some level of scandal or scrutiny, however there is only one candidate getting criticized for his supporters. Since 2016 there has been a relentless series of attacks on Bernie Sanders because of his online supporters, also known as “Bernie Bros”.
Now I dislike the Bernie Bro moniker, Bernie’s coalition of voters is the most diverse in the race and referring to all of us as “bros”, if pretty diminutive of the movement as a whole. That being said, Bernie Sanders supporters do in fact bully the supporters of other candidates (and in some cases other candidates) online.
This has become an issue again, as in the past week Micheal Bloomberg launched an advertisement that featured a slideshow of slightly mean tweets condemning Bernie Sanders about his fan base on Twitter. It is worth noting that Bloomberg released this ad a week after popular Bernie Bro Briahna Joy Gray tweeted about Bloomberg’s 64 sexual assault allegations.
Bloomberg wasn’t the only one who complained about Bernie Brose this week. Jon Favreau from Pod Save America said that in order for Bernie to win his supporters are going to have to “shape up”, which means stop doing Twitter harassment.
Now I am without a doubt a big fan of a lot of the Bernie twitter culture, I think all of it is pretty funny. However even if reading tweets about Elizabeth Warren being a snake for not shaking Bernie’s hand isn’t your thing, some of the Bernie twitter is still objectively good.
For example Briana Joy Gray calling out Bloomberg for having 64 sexual harassment complaints is objectively good. By and large when the Bernie twitter mob comes for candidates and their history it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing for people to know about Bloomberg’s history of racism and sexism. It’s a good thing for people to know about Pete Buttigieg’s history of working for a company that fixed bread prices. It’s a good thing to know about Elizabeth Warren not having the same progressive history as Bernie Sanders.
Maybe it seems like this is a mute point, and this isn’t the type of twitter culture that people are criticising, but it’s worth noting that Bloomberg’s ad came out a week after people started to really criticize his history with women and “stop and frisk” policies. It’s also worth noting that Kamala Harris cited Twitter as one of the reasons her campaign failed, and most of the Twitter discourse on Kamala Harris was her history of over-policing in Los Angeles. So it’s not completely absurd to point out that these instances of the Bernie twitter mob are good.
Now there is obviously the other side of Bernie Sander’s twitter mob, the side that calls Pete Buttigeig a rat or makes jokes about Joe Biden’s being old. I could certainly understand the outrage to this side of Twitter if Twitter was The New York Times, but it isn’t The New York Times, it’s random people on Twitter. If you don’t like the Twitter jokes, just don’t log onto Twitter. I don’t like the jokes on SNL because I think they’re cheap and unfunny, and my solution to this problem is to just not watch SNL.
In conclusion, at best Bernie Sanders supporters bullying people on Twitter is a good thing, and at worst it doesn’t matter at all. There is literally no reason why this should be an issue for anyone in this primary. In an America that is so uncivilized that it let’s children die because they can’t afford insulin, there is no reason for the supporters of those children to try to afford civility.