There are some very basic stereotypes about your average Bernie Sanders supporter. Young, entitled, hyperbolic hatred of Corporate America, and even sexist in some circles. As someone who supports Sanders (gotcha?) but doesn’t fit any of these stereotypes, I thought I might take a swipe at explaining why I support him and do it by also addressing some of the stereotypes about Bernie Supporters.
#5. I want free shit.
I pay taxes. I wouldn’t mind them going up slightly if helped replaced the cost of healthcare insurance that forces me to choose between a copay or a doctor visit, or would help my kids have some more security about their future knowing their undergraduate work — that is absolutely essential in today’s job market — would put them into lifelong, impossible debt. I’m just tired of paying my fair share while massive companies with historical profits and revenue are getting away with paying almost nothing, or in some cases absolutely nothing…if not less with subsidies. I don’t want free shit. I want to invest in my children’s future by improving their higher educational prospects and improving the services and programs that we can offer to help get started on life’s journey, and I want to share the cost with everyone so that, silly fucking me, the species continues and all our progeny don’t have to watch this all burn or slide into the rising seas.
#4. I want the government to control the entire economy.
You know, I may be a “democratic socialist,” or a “social democrat,” but I’m not someone who favors traditional, pure socialism. Funnily enough, I’m really just in favor of a market that has rules. Know why? Otherwise it’s not a market, it’s a free-for-all clusterfuck where we let greed be our baseline need that’s sated and everything else is an afterthought…if we think about it at all. I don’t want the government to control the entire economy. I just want Wall Street to remember we don’t, didn’t, and won’t elect them as our leaders and representatives, and that they wouldn’t even exist without the people’s government, so it should only be right that the taxpayer not be the last one in the pecking order.
#3. I hate rich people and want to take all their money.
I don’t have an ax to grind against the rich, the One Percent, or the Bee-yuh-nayuh Class as Bernie puts it. We do, however, need to cut the shit and be intellectually honest to admit that someone making upwards of tens of millions of dollars can survive on 62% of their income, especially if they’re also being smart by helping the economy and investing in new companies and industries. I don’t hate the rich or want all their money. I just think the working class, who the rich cannot be rich without, shouldn’t be footing the entire bill for society to function when we’re being squeezed hard enough just to keep the consumer-based economy humming in the first place. That’s how it’s supposed to work. You tax high earnings higher and give tax breaks for capital gains and losses to encourage people to not just sit on wealth. Kinda like they’re doing now.
#2. I’m young, dumb, and naive about how the world works.
I may be on the outer cusp of being considered a “millennial,” but a) stop using that term like an insult, you ageist shits and b) I’m old enough to know I don’t know everything. I’m also old enough to know that Bernie will face a steep climb to get half of the stuff done that he’d like to, and that even then there simply are no guarantees that they’ll work perfectly. But nothing from a cell phone to a Big Mac is perfect. The truth is that more loosely regulated capitalism has nearly crippled us twice in the last hundred years, so a little smart social democracy to put the firewalls back in place that were there before sounds good by me. I just really want to try that whole “change” thing out. Maybe you don’t, and that’s fine, but I do.
#1. I’m a sexist and/or think Hillary Clinton would make a terrible president.
This one is the one that I truly don’t understand. Normally intelligent liberals suddenly lose their mind when they find out a fellow liberal is supporting Sanders and not Clinton, and suddenly start accusing people of sexism that they know aren’t sexist in the slightest. Firstly, those people should stop calling themselves liberals and just call themselves Party-First Democrats. Secondly, it is entirely possible to think that Clinton would be okay at the job but have enough reservations about her associations to prefer someone else. This reminds me of one my favorite lines from the novel “High Fidelity.” Since when is it sexist to state a preference? I’m not a sexist, and I’m sure Hillary Clinton is more than qualified to be president. I just prefer someone else. For now.