General Question

Caravanfan's avatar

How do Sanders supporters spin Sanders' borderline sexist and racist comments?

Asked by Caravanfan (10722points) January 26th, 2019

Here is an article about an article

And here is the original article

In short: “I hate identity politics. Vote for me—I’m an old white guy.”

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41 Answers

notnotnotnot's avatar

They are not racist or sexist comments, and require an empty, conservative version of racial and gender justice in order to read it that way.

Look, Sanders is a compromise – a huge compromise. The left is all up in his shit. But he is the only candidate that would run on Democratic ticket that I would vote for in the general. And I’m not alone.

Kamala Harris is Clinton 2.0, and we’re about to have a repeat.

Anyway, if your idea of identity politics strips away ideology, policies, and real-world material conditions, it’s not worth having.

Caravanfan's avatar

@notnotnotnot Let’s assume Joe Biden said the same thing. Would you have the same response?

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Caravanfan: ”@notnotnotnot Let’s assume Joe Biden said the same thing. Would you have the same response?”

Of course.

But Joe Biden is a horrible human being because of his policies and past actions. So if he were saying that he would be a good choice to affect change, we could dismiss him out of hand.

Caravanfan's avatar

@notnotnotnot Not talking about Biden as a candidate or past actions. I’m just talking about the statement as it is—that’s all.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Caravanfan: ”@notnotnotnot Not talking about Biden as a candidate or past actions. I’m just talking about the statement as it is—that’s all.”

I answered your question: “Of course.”

But I find it troubling that you are advocating for removing context from statements. Of what use is that?

gorillapaws's avatar

Should women vote for Palin just because she has a vagina? or Ben Carson just because he’s black? Identity politics is the equivalent of an ad hominem, It’s saying “don’t judge my by my policies and voting record, just vote for me because of who I am.” Not only is it illogical, it’s also strategically ineffective. People won’t show up to the polls if your positions are vapid and your main argument is “I have a vagina!”—just ask Hillary.

Bernie Sanders has a 100% rating from NARAL. He’s fought his entire life for social and economic justice for people of all genders, races, religions, sexual orientation (way before it was mainstream btw). I 100% believe that he will fight for the policies he supports. I don’t believe most of the other candidates will. They’ll pull an Obama and quickly cave on their position (e.g. remember the public option?) which is likely their intention all along: publicly support a popular position and privately oppose it (remember Clinton’s public and private position leak).

There are a lot of powerful interests that will do everything they can to see that Bernie doesn’t become president. That includes the mainstream media who are owned by major corporations and love the status quo of money in politics. These smears are predictable and also absurd.

Let me also add that I believe that Bernie Sanders has the best chance of defeating Trump by a wide margin. I actually believe that establishment figures would rather have 4 more years of Trump than Bernie.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Caravan -Please don’t tell me you follow @eclecticbrotha on twitter. Him and the right-wing corporate dems are disgusting.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Caravanfan – There are reasons to be opposed to Sanders. My suggestion is that you make them. Don’t co-opt the language of feminism and anti-racism like the right always does to weaponize the concepts against the left. Just say that you are opposed to his policies.

notnotnotnot's avatar

^ Do you agree that we should just have 2 corporate candidates run against each other in the general, leaving people to vote Stein again?

Do you like the fact that Democrats decided to lose to Trump than win with Sanders in 2016?

Caravanfan's avatar

@notnotnotnot I don’t agree nor disagree, as it’s not the point of the question (which is exactly why I put it in General). My question was how Sanders supporters would spin his comments. You and Gorilla answered it. I appreciate your time!

Zaku's avatar

I don’t think Sanders’ comments need to be “spun”. I think the spin of this hit piece article just needs to be seen for what it is and dismissed.

It seems to me that the only way to think Sanders is a sexist is to want to be able to see that and then wilfully not get what he’s actually saying and ignore/avoid all the other things Sanders has said and done.

gorillapaws's avatar

Another point to make is that Bernie has the highest support from women and people of color.

Caravanfan's avatar

@gorillapaws Except that now there is a woman and a person of color running and she has yet to really introduce herself to the American public. We know her here in California, of course, but others only see what the left and right wing smear campaigns have been saying about her.

JLeslie's avatar

I voted for Hillary, so I’m not sure it’s ok for me to answer. I like Sanders in that I believe him to be one of the most honest and genuine politicians out there.

I’m always shocked that a Jewish candidate perceives himself, or that other people perceive the candidate, as just white. White like Christian candidates? Is that right? I mean I know Christians who were apprehensive about Romney being Mormon, do they really not see Bernie as a Jewish guy? Isn’t he an atheist also? Or, do I have that wrong?

Jews are probably more likely to vote for Jews, just like black people might be more likely to vote for black candidates. It’s because culturally they might have some of the same concerns.

I do agree with Bernie that the identity politics feels like it is going too far. My husband said to me 11 years ago, “they keep calling Obama a black candidate, and I don’t see his race at all.” As much as I understand why the first black president is meaningful in America, I also think the emphasis on race, gender, ethnicity, or even religion, needs to go away if we truly are going to be rid of race issues in America.

I never thought of Hillary as a female candidate, only as a candidate.

I do think democrats have gone almost too far, and sometimes it’s too obvious, in trying to include and speak to minorities. It looks like excessive pandoring sometimes. As a religious and gender minority (Jewish female) married to a religious and ethnic minority (Jewish Mexican) we don’t look for diversity standing behind candidates in a stadium, or if the candidate is a minority themselves, we just care about their stand on issues and policy.

Sanders is a Northeast Jew, older guy, and how he talks is typical of his generation and background. I’ve never felt he was a hypocrite, I don’t believe he is racist, and I don’t believe he’s sexist.

notnotnotnot's avatar

@Caravanfan – I’ve known about Harris for years, and she is not good. This is exactly what this original question is about.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Caravanfan “Except that now there is a woman and a person of color running and she has yet to really introduce herself to the American public.”

That doesn’t really undercut the point that Sanders is and has been supported by women and people of color. I find it hard to believe that if he truly were racist and sexist as the establishment narrative would have you believe, then he would have had so much support.

It’s possible that Harris will gain some followers due to identity, but I think her prosecutorial record has some serious red flags. I wouldn’t call it a “smear” to call out her record. Another consideration for me in deciding who to support is who is backing their campaign and who is against it. Harris donors vs. Sanders donors. Also Harris has been the darling of corporate media, that’s a major red flag to me.

Caravanfan's avatar

Thanks for answering my question all!

rockfan's avatar

You’ve got to be kidding me. Only a person with an agenda towards Bernie would think these are racist and sexist comments.

Response moderated (Spam)
Caravanfan's avatar

@rockfan thanks for answering!

JLeslie's avatar

I do think a lot of people are “so excited” at the prospect of a black woman running for president. Too much emphasis on race and gender in my opinion.

Caravanfan's avatar

@JLeslie I was excited about a black man running for president. I voted for him because of it. I think identity and diversity is important. I am really sick of old white men being President.

Caravanfan's avatar

Here is another twitter thread that is going to make you guys spin up.

“A woman enjoys intercourse with her man—as she fantasizes about being raped by 3 men simultaneously”—Bernie Sanders

(Getting the popcorn)

stanleybmanly's avatar

Sanders comments make perfect sense and are neither gender nor racially insensitive. He is merely stating that the very sensible and OBVIOUS fact that the primary consideration of a candidate should not be based on race, gender or any combination of the 2. What’s insensitive about that? I mean am I supposed to cut Ann Coulter some slack because she’s a woman?

gorillapaws's avatar

@Caravanfan What about the fact that Bernie would be the first Jewish president?

“I think identity and diversity is important. I am really sick of old white men being President.”

I actually agree with this. Identity is important, but imo it’s not a reason to vote for someone with policies or a record you disagree with. For example if AOC were old enough to run for President, I’d love to vote for her. Sadly the only non-white male candidates I would vote for is Warren, and possibly Gabbard (though I do have some reservations about her policy positions), and ultimately Jill Stein if it came to it. In my opinion, Bernie is the only candidate who I believe can beat Trump and who will actually implement the progressive policies he supports. He also happens to be an old white guy.

In my opinion, the greatest risk this country faces is not the lack of diversity in the executive branch, but that our economic policies since Reagan have decimated the working class, endless wars for oil and profit have crippled our budget, and our planet is on the verge of devastation on a massive scale. The scientists have spoken and they say we need to get off fossil fuel in a serious and urgent way.

I don’t see moderates and fauxgressive candidates making the kind of massive changes that are necessary to address the problem. I see them smiling, saying the right things, embracing incrementalism (“all of the above energy policy”) keeping the donors and the Democratic elite happy—all while the middle class, this country and the planet slowly get wiped out.

Caravanfan's avatar

@gorillapaws I agree with most of what you said as well (see? We can get along!). The issue for me, as I have been criticized and insulted by people here is that I am not a progressive, but more of a classical liberal which as Tom has loved to point out there is a big difference (liberals are bad, progressives are good). I’m also a centrist, which is a no-no among some. In terms of the Jewish thing, that’s a positive in my eyes, but not enough (see below)

There are those who are one-issue voters. Many vote based upon abortion, some based upon taxes, some based upon single payer. I’m not one of those people but if I were, my issue is guns and gun control, and here I have not seen Sanders remotely come close to where I would like my candidate to be. So the only way I could see ever voting for Sanders is if he’s in the general election against Trump.

That said, since I am a centrist, I am more apt to vote for more candidates than you all are. I don’t like Harris myself, but for reasons that more are due to local health care politics than anything else.

As a moderate, “massive change” scares the hell out of me, and I am an incrementalist. (And although it’s way off topic, in terms of climate change, progressives are not guiltless in their unwavering opposition to nuclear power, which is carbon free.) I do not believe that revolution is good for anybody. Just look at the alt-right revolution that is happening in front of our faces.

stanleybmanly's avatar

It is absolutely crucial to understand as Sanders AND Occasio Cortez surely do that it is the issue of class that transcends EVERYTHING. The reason that race and gender are such divisive issues is simply because they distract from the REAL problem. They’re like the pock marks of disease. They all reflect issues of bigotry and injustice, but the salient fact usulally ignored is the one undertood & trumpeted by every rapper no matter how obscure or submerged in the deepest part of the ghetto. Our system, economic, political, you name it is ABOUT WHO’s GETTIN PAID. Just because the answer has always been rich white men, does not mean the issue is solved once rich white women or rich black folks attain parity in proportion to their numbers.

Aethelwine's avatar

@Caravanfan is being nothing but a troll right now.

It’s rather funny thinking he assumes our panties will get in a twist with his silly links.

Aethelwine's avatar

Grabbing my popcorn waiting for his response

Caravanfan's avatar

@stanleybmanly I like AOC a lot. There are thing I don’t agree with but I would certainly vote for her if I had the chance.

Caravanfan's avatar

I grant my popcorn comment was a bit trolly. I apologize.

stanleybmanly's avatar

People object to Sanders & OC because they think them too radical. This is because we have been trained from birth to ignore the issue of class as somehow irrelevant. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Brian1946's avatar


“I grant my popcorn comment was a bit trolly”

I agree: your comment did resemble a streetcar, but it’s not too late to get this thread back on track. ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

@Caravanfan You voted for Obama in the primary?

I felt Bernie was too extreme also, but a friend of mine pointed out that he probably wouldn’t get everything he talked about, but he would stir the pot, and set things down a different oath that she felt would be the better one. This makes me feel more at ease if he were to win. That doesn’t help you with the gun issue though. I’m still not saying I would vote for him in the primary. I have no idea who I will be voting for.

@stanleybmanly I used to talk about socio-economics (class) more on fluther, especially when @daloon was here. One point I used to make was it seemed rather taboo to talk about class differences in America. Maybe because we (the USA) grew up with the idea of meritocracy and one of our driving forces for developing our country was freedom from the royalty set up, and freedom from being born into a class we could not move from.

That’s partly why Obama wasn’t “black” to a lot of people, because he had money and education. But, if we talk about that in depth, I’ll probably be called racist or xenophobic.

stanleybmanly's avatar

That’s the way it works. The educated liberal intellectuals among the elite understand instinctively that Obama’s pedigree proved his adherence to the belief that he is “one of us” and despite his lifetime effort of championing civil rights causes, shares their belief that the status quo is best for everyone, requiring a little tweaking around the edges. Educated people understand that racial issues are disguised conflicts over economic justice, but when economic justice conflicts with such matters as say rates of return or preferential capital gains discounts, Obama’s civil rights work was about “just visiting.” The Presidency took precedence over his lifetime “hobby”. Time to bail out the banks.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Along with lower rung black perceptions that because he speaks the queen’s English and knows which fork goes with the salad, Obama isn’t black, there are of course those white folks not about to forgive the man for being black and would consider it irrelevant were he annointed on prime time TV by Jesus Himself. These folks combined with the mainstream conservative component— those convinced that any crumb deflected from the river of riches flowing to the well heeled to be an abomination—claim the man is a rabid Trotskyist.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I honestly have to agree with Bernie. It’s like the old Affirmative Action. Hire a person because of the color of their skin while overlooking others who may be more well qualified. I just don’t see the examples you gave as racist or sexist.

Having said that, I am not sure I could vote for him, although I do like his passion.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Caravanfan “see? We can get along!”

I’ve always held a high regard of your thoughts and opinions (primarily due to your logical and rational approach to discussion)—though I may disagree strongly at times. I always try not to disagree in too disagreeable a manner—though I don’t always succeed.

I appreciate your classically liberal perspective, it seems most of the Democratic Establishment is also firmly entrenched in the same camp. The major issue is that the vast majority of Democratic voters are much further to the left of you and the party leaders (and frankly most of the elected Democrats too).

1. 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans support Medicare for all (I realize you also support this position). Sadly, it appears that Democratic leadership is already trying to water down the Medicare-for-all bill.

2. 59% of registered voters support raising the highest tax rate to 70%, and the poll wasn’t even phrased very well, by not explaining that it’s a marginal rate and how that works (I don’t believe most people understand marginal rates).

3. 79% of Democrats and 41% of Republicans say they support tuition-free college, amounting to 60% overall.

4. 55 percent of registered voters said they would support raising the the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Another 27 percent said it should be increased but to a lesser amount.

5. 62% of Americans support legalizing marijuana

6.92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans back the Green New Deal plan. The establishment is trying to sabotage it.

On issue, after issue the progressive positions are overwhelmingly popular with the American people. These aren’t extreme, niche, radical positions held only by people who eat Granola and ride bicycles everywhere, and yet they are treated that way by the mainstream media.

The Democratic party is out-of-touch with their voters, and they think they can fake support for these issues publicly while privately taking money from the industries that oppose it (See Beto O’Rourke). It’s not going to work. If Centrist Democrats are interested in winning and beating Trump, they need to realize that they are in the minority and hold niche positions. They should be encouraging politicians who are authentic and have popular positions if they want to beat Trump.

We should be looking at where they’re getting their funding from and not be fooled by candidates that don’t take corporate Super PAC’s, but still take huge donations from powerful private interests via other avenues.

I can respect your opinion on guns. I’m sure we probably agree on nearly every point on gun control. Bernie got a D minus from the NRA. I would argue that the marginal difference between his record and other anti-gun supporters is pretty small, certainly small enough to be outweighed by other factors such as his likelihood of success vs. Trump.

Furthermore, I would make the rational case to you that the environment is a much more important issue than guns. For one thing, it’s possible to address gun control in the future, but it’s very likely that climate change will be irreversible. That creates an urgency that doesn’t exist with gun control (or transgenders in the military or immigration, or whatever other wedge issue the media wants us distract us with). The other factor is the degree of harm each could cause. Guns are horrible and do terrible damage to this country, but we can quantify that damage with statistics. If we compare those stats with what could come from climate change, there’s really no comparison. We’re talking many orders of magnitude more death and suffering from extreme weather and natural disasters (increased intensity and frequency), climate-related migrations and the resulting wars (see ISIS), the potential for the global food supply to be permanently diminished, the extinction of species (and all of the potential medical breakthroughs that will never happen as a result), etc.

The thing that scares the hell-out-of-me are people who think incrementally slowing down the rate we’re running towards the cliff is a better approach than changing directions and running away from the cliff completely. According to the UN we only have 12 years.

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