This statement encapsulates my problems with Bernie.
"Some people think that the people who voted for Trump are racists and sexists and homophobes and deplorable folks. I don't agree, because I've been there. Let me tell you something else some of you might not agree with, it wasn't that Donald Trump won the election, it was that the Democratic Party lost the election," Sanders said.
Where to begin? First, it's a straw man. Nobody is saying everyone who voted for Trump is a racist, sexist, homophobe. More important, this minimizes the undeniable fact that Trump's "win" was premised on explicit appeals to white nationalism and overwhelming support from white men. Needless to say, tens of millions of women, people of color, immigrants and LGBTQ, the ones whose rights are threatened, feel differently, despite the self-serving statements of the octogenarian socialist from Vermont.
Second, it's more than a little ironic to blame Democrats for "losing" an election in which we got 3 million more votes despite outrageous interference by the FBI, Russian hackers (possibly in conjunction with the Republican nominee) stealing and selectively releasing confidential internal communications and spreading false news tarring the Democratic nominee (some of which, it should be noted, targeted Sanders supporters), a media environment that spent as much time dissecting the Democrat's email server management as on Trump's serial lies, scandals and corruption, and a Republican party that actively sought to suppress minority votes.
Pray tell, then, how the Democrats "lost" the election? Was it by standing up for civil rights and inclusion, the environment, immigration reform, universal healthcare, expanded access to higher education, higher minimum wage, gun regulation, criminal justice reform, etc? Maybe, just maybe, one reason we "lost" is that after listening to rants like this, enough people were convinced that despite all this, the Democrats were the ones responsible for the financial crisis, de-industrialization, rising healthcare and college costs, and income inequality. Maybe, just maybe, if instead of attacking Democrats as corporate tools Bernie had spent even a little time pointing out how Democrats have fought for solutions in the face of Republican obstruction, we'd have a different occupant in the White House. Maybe, just maybe, as we confront an authoritarian monster who threatens our Democracy every day, blaming the ones fighting the good fight is not the best strategy.
I recognize Bernie is the most popular politician in the country right now. Dems are falling over themselves to soak up some of that popularity. He was originally sold as someone who would expand the Party's reach. Unfortunately, statements like these lead me to wonder if he's done more to drive voters away.
I want to like Bernie. I really do. But every time I start, he says something to remind me that with friends like these...