Tuesday, February 09, 2016

An Open Letter to Millennials: Bernie Sanders Will Break Your Heart


Let's turn the clock back to 2008. Millions of young people were swooning over Barack Obama, a hip, cool, black first-term Senator from Illinois who, in his bid for the presidency, tantalized them with visions of hope and change. For his infectious optimism and promises of a new, united America he was rewarded with a resounding victory over his Republican opponent John McCain: 365-173 electoral votes and 53%-46% of the popular vote.

But leading up to that historic win, the Democratic primary was a real slug fest. While Obama took about 15% more delegates than rival Hillary Clinton, it was Clinton who won the popular vote. It was a truly ugly battle. I can't begin to tell you how many verbal brawls I got into with rabid Obamacon friends who were so drunk on the Kool-aid that they could neither understand or accept my support of Hillary.

Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, they leaped head-first into the Obama pool while at the same time drowning in their Hillary vitriol. And their hostility towards her, and those who supported her, grew with each stirring Obama speech. The more he became this transformational political figure, the more she became a tired, shrill symbol of the past.

But the years passed and the hope and change soon turned into anger and disappointment. The progressives bristled at Obama's stand on marriage equality. That the rich got richer. That he was too militaristic. That he caved too quickly and easily to Republicans on the budget and key elements of his healthcare proposal. While the right called him a socialist, the left accused him of being too conservative. He broke their hearts.

Which brings us to Bernie Sanders. The new cool kid in school. The one who inexplicably excites you millennials, and whom you believe transcends politics, despite his establishment credentials as a 25-year Washington insider. You love him. Yet you hate Hillary despite the fact that for decades she's been a passionate supporter of myriad progressive causes including marriage equality, paid family leave, a woman's right to choose, universal pre-kindergarten, universal healthcare and gun control.

And that "Bern" you've been "feeling" has made you quite nasty. The social media smear campaign against Clinton has become so toxic and sexist that Sanders himself had to tell the bullies to back off this week.

I get your "anti-establishment" fervor, and I can certainly appreciate your passion and idealistic view of the world at this early stage in your voting life. But I'm baffled by your enthusiastic support of a shrill, fairly dull, wonkish 74-year-old white-haired Jewish socialist from Vermont with a grating Brooklyn accent... (full disclosure: I'm a NY Jew)...who rants about income-redistribution, breaking up banks and free health care and college education for all. To borrow from my (also Jew) pal Dave, Sanders is that loud curmudgeonly uncle that you hope doesn't corner you on Passover to ask why you're dating a non-Jew, don't have children yet or chose art over medicine.

I hate to burst your bubble, but Bernie Sanders will never win a general election to become president of the United States. And it's highly unlikely that, after an expected victory in his neighboring state of New Hampshire Tuesday, he'll have any meaningful nomination juice. But if he did ever make it to the Oval Office he'd break your heart just as Obama did. He'll either cave under Republican pressure and/or shift to the center to compromise. And his "progressiveness" will quickly start to look like, well, the behavior of every other career politician who has to play the dirty game of politics.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree. I fear a Bernie win in the primaries will either result in a George McGovern type loss or a "win" with a short lived rejoice. A RWNJ repub House will never pass Bernie's agenda. Then we will have a bunch of disappointed folks again.
I have waited my whole adult life to be able to vote for a qualified Dem woman for president. I have followed Hillary from the time she worked on the Watergate Hearings. She has dedicated her life to working for women and children. I do not understand women who don't support her. She has been so vilified by the repubs that even Bernie supporters use their talking points to attack her. And the disappointment of being treated like the enemy because I support Hillary is beyond words. In fact it's hard to not think that many Bernie supporters are really just repubs who don't want Hillary to be the Dem nominee.

John W. said...

Andy you nailed it. My wife and I have been saying this about Bernie form the get go. Just like you, we to supported and worked for Hillary in 2008. We knew her track record and she was the best choice then and now. Obama has been a “good” President but he did not have the “great” President personality or ability. He knew full well that the GOP was going to buck him in every way they could, and they did. He even lost many of his own party because he was too nice. Knowing that he had to play hardball from the very start with the GOP he decided to take the other road and in doing that he got lost and totally off track.

Sanders is a “flash in the pan” as far as I’m concerned. If he is the final nominee we will see the GOP spend countless dollars on defeating him. You can bet they will have him pictured with Mao, Hitler and with the Communist red star and sickle. It will be endless in what they will do to win back the White House and then control the Supreme Court for generations. Once they have the courts they have the control they have been wanting for decades. We cannot let this happen.

Rick said...

But a RWNJ Republican congress isn't going to work with Hillary either. And if you've been waiting for a woman to vote for, you're using the wrong criteria. Famous Millennial Susan Sarandon said "I don't vote with my vagina; that's why I'm supporting Bernie Sanders."

Hillary's supporters attack Bernie with regularity, and then turn around and accuse his supporters of attacking their candidate. That's a tactic I've grown all too familiar with - accuse the other side of just what you're doing yourself - but for a change it isn't coming from Karl Rove.

I'm disappointed, Andy.

Jill said...

The right wing nutjobs won't let Hillary pass anything either...certainly not anything that isn't in service of the oligarchy.

Unknown said...

Neither of yall understand and many clinton supporters don't they are so use to hearing the smear of hillary which has become pretty tedious but what yall truly don't understand is the sincerity that bernie brings bernie has been talking about marriage equality racism income inequality since the 1960s he went to jail for his brothers while he was in college organizing sit ins with his fellow brothers in 2003 there is video of senator clinton saying she does not back marriage equality in her own state of Arkansas she has been back and forth on all of the issues to please the base it's disingenuous and plays herself as a selfish politician her talking large sums in the past 3 years speaking for big banks and not releasing transcripts it makes her look like a lying politician which she has repeatedly made herself look and that's why the younger generation us millenials support sanders is because he has had the same platform nearly for the past 25 years and has authenticity behind you yourself need to do some research and find VIDEOS to watch on bernie vs hillary over the years it might just change your mind and it certainly is changing the minds of my friends family and the black community so yes I am a 22 year old millenial who is feeling the Bern but you will not see me stoop to the level of the elitist sexist rep that are trying to destroy everything that pres Obama has built on but also understand bernie has been on the for front of all this change I mean he was a member who helped write the ACA he doesn't want to destroy it like some media suggest he wants to expand it even further than it already is make it untouchable by the gov he wants to pass legislation that gives things to the people that can not and will not be taken back nobody said this was going to be a cake walk we millenials understand the obstructionist there are in Congress but don't try to discourage us with the fact that his purposals won't pass you think hillary has a much better chance to get things past without having to compromise with congress that's apart of the presidency that has to be dealt with that'd why sanders wants people to get up and get out and change those things with a political revolution but here you are trying to discourage millions to get out and vote by saying well he just can't get anything passed it's that kind of mentality I think that got us here not president Obama and his policies so wake up and realize that you and I need to join together to demand change for this country through congressional action it's our civic duty to demand congress represent us don't try to discourage and divide by saying that nothing will happen that's a REPUBLICAN TATIC and I think we all can agree we don't want any of that around here!

Unknown said...

Us millienials don't really care what the baby boomers or any prior generation has to say. To be honest your generation sold us into slavery with debt and also unending wars. For the first time in America our generation is worse off then prior generations cause people like you who couldn't stop the recklessness of Washington. Your generation will go in the history books as a complete failure. The millienials can't afford to go with status quo and must go after things to pull the money out of the one percent and back into the middle class. So thank you for your opinion and since we don't see eye to eye I know my generation is doing things better then your failure of a generation

Anonymous said...

What a load of bull. As a first-wave millennial, meaning I am nearing my mid-30s, I do not agree with you at all. For starters, you made a sh*t ton of assumptions and generalizations about my generation's relationship with politics, worst being that we are all naïve. Second, you conveniently did not go back far enough to the pre-Obama era. I recall the same exact, poorly-articulated argument you just attempted to write being thrown at Senator Obama. For over a year, the media and "experts" discussed that the U.S. would never elect a young, black "community organizer" with no executive experience. Then, after millennials voted him in office in record numbers (twice, I might add), they said he'd never get the Affordable Care Act passed. "America will never allow universal health care", they said. Wrong again.

No one ever gets everything they want in an election because there is no perfect candidate. I am not disappointed with President Obama. I believe he is a smart, calculating man who has miraculously been able to (unapologetically) push a progressive agenda in the face of racism, obstructionism, and pure hatred from the right-wing. I would vote him in office for a third time, if the constitution allowed. Both Bernie and Hillary will have to make concessions as president. To quote younger millennials, "That's obvie."

Bernie represents where the U.S. will land by the time my generation is dying off. America almost always follows Europe politically and my generation doesn't have some warped, mis-informed 1950s view of socialism. The socialist experiments of the past are just that. This is not the 20th century and numerous countries with strong socialistic principles embedded in their systems (e.g. Canada, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Australia) have managed to thrive in an increasingly complex, global economy. Americans remind me a lot of my stubborn mother when I was child. When I wanted something I knew I had to propose it at least two-days before it was needed. Why? Because she'd always go with her gut reaction of "no" without considering the facts. Then, after two days, my father had talked to her or she had sought out more info and decided she was ok with it after all. This is what Americans do each time they are afraid of change. We respond with our gut reaction, we make a scowl, and slam the door. Then, inevitably, that door cracks open and we slowly move forward.

I guess you could call me a "values voter" because when it comes down to casting a vote, I will vote for the choice that MOST represents my values. For me, Bernie and I agree on nearly 80% of topics covered (I actually think he is too moderate). As for Hillary, I agree with her only about 55% of the time. However, she's easily 50% ahead of nearest Republican.

Anonymous said...

Passionate about marriage equality?!? Shes changed her stance on this issue many times based on her political agenda. This article is so biased it's disgusting. Hilary Clinton is a liar, and will say anything to get a vote. Keep supporting a liar with these propaganda style articles. When Bernie does win the general election, and the democrats successfully take over congress, I will laugh at this ignorant article and make sure to re-post it somewhere you will be able to see it. Oh yeah do some research on the different types of Socialism before you post a picture pretending like you know what your talking about.

Anonymous said...

You say Bernie will cave and/or shift to the center of compromise and let us down as if Hillary wouldn't do the same. In fact, she really wouldn't have much of a choice to do otherwise due to a Republican Congress. Both of their agendas will ultimately be very hard to be put into effect, so how exactly is criticizing Bernie on caving to Republicans okay... when we both know Hillary would ultimately do the same? Either Democrat will maintain our marriage equality rights, a woman's right to choose, and universal healthcare. And either Democrat will push for paid family leave and better gun control laws. But only one of them wants to bring about change on Wall St. and stop ridiculous loopholes for the big banks and corporations plaguing not only our country, but our voting process... and the other apparently loves how it effects our voting process while she sits quietly in the pockets of big banks. Bernie's surge is what happens when you appear genuine, and not accepting SuperPac money only adds to that. Let's say, in the end, neither of them bring about any real change ...it'll be because of the Republicans and Congress ...we know that... but, at least with Bernie we'll know he meant well and had the middle class at heart. Hillary on the other hand ...well, I can't tell... and that's the problem. She made a few odd judgements that didn't favor the people as Senator and returning the favor to those that funded her wouldn't be shocking. To me, you could call a Hillary term as President, Obama's 3rd term. People are ready to take "change" a step further, and while it might not work out in the long run with what Bernie promises, it's worth a shot when the other opinion is simply business as usual.

Anonymous said...

I'm coupling my response with the "open letter to independents" article

In this article when you get to the Sanders paragraph the first thing you say is "The one who inexplicably excites you millennials"

It reads "I'm completely out of touch and I don't get it". For good reason too. You claim it's inexplicable when it's completely explicable. You simply don't understand and the rest of the article shows that. Sounds like you're completely out of touch.

Concerning the closing line in you "Open Letter to Independents"
"Grow up. Pick a side. Stand for something. For someone."

Did it ever occur to you that they don't want to "pick a side"? People are fed up with both sides and the system. I don't believe they see a reason to continue the status quo and that they want substantial change.

Independents are the largest political affiliation and are still growing. You admitted in the article that this "confounds" you then proceed to insult them. Poor decision in my opinion. Regardless, it once again shows that you simply don't get it.

Maybe you should take some time to meet millennials and independents. Actually listen to them, try to understand them, get to know them.

They have every right to feel the way they do and they have every right to reject the same parties who have hand delivered deteriorating meritocracy to the middle class for the last five decades. They have the right to reject that status quo that is structured so few succeed at the expense of many.

Telling them that they need to conform because that's the way it's always been? Really? All the millenials take away from that is "Old man yells at cloud"

Millenials aren't just highly connected in our digital age, they are highly connected and very savvy about it. We've all heard the story of using twitter to get a hundred people to congregate at the same place for socializing. If they figure out that they, the youth of this nation, really hold the power, you're going to be in for one hell of a ride on the confounded express Mr Ostroy.

oldDarkside said...

First and foremost, Bernie openly admits he's a secular person. So calling him a Jew when he's only Jewish by birth is the same as calling me Catholic even though I only step foot in a church on Christmas so my mother can brag about me to her friends. Furthermore, likening the toxic supporters of Bernie to the man himself is a conflation; he represents his beliefs, and those who choose to follow him come from many walks of life. Furthermore, to say that Obama broke anyone's heart and failed to create a change is a piece of Conservative propaganda. Obama reversed the country's breakneck slide into recession in less than the amount of time it took Bush to destroy everything in the first place. Furthermore, under the Obama administration, the DEA is no longer tasked with chasing down state-level legal medical marijuana businesses, I am fortunate enough to still have healthcare even though it would have been prohibitively expensive for me to acquire it on my own, and despite his not being able to fulfill all of his promises it certainly didn't help that the Republican controlled Congress is still convinced he's a Muslim sent to undermine our nation.

But most importantly, this ad hominem attack of yours, slandering Bernie as a "loud curmudgeonly uncle that you hope doesn't corner you on Passover" just illustrates your inability to comprehend the bigger picture. Your attack lacks so much substance that you've been forced to resort to grade school name calling. And you're calling the hopeful youth of this nation, who are going to inherit your rightest, militaristic mistakes and a nation who's currently world renowned as imperialistic, xenophobic, and down right stupid, you're calling us dumb? You're saying that Bernie Sanders is going to disappoint us? As if you are yours haven't already been a massive disappointment? How about this? How about all of the people who have helped make this nation as god awful as it is today stop being allowed to voice their opinions, because in the end you're going to be dead and I am going to have spent 26 years paying into the Social Security system only to never get to enjoy the benefits of it myself. You're 56 years old, which means by the time I am old enough to run for president you'll be nearly 70. It is unacceptable to me that you would tell the educated, well read youth who support this man who, despite 25 years within the establishment has not been changed by it, that we have got it wrong. And if you want to have a public debate about this, let's do it. Because so help me god, you are wrong, and everything in this article is wrong. You're so unbelievably wrapped up in your own narrative that you fail to see that Hillary is a shill, and if we have any hope of ever succeeding as a nation we need to stop trying to operate like a business and start operating as a society.

Anonymous said...

Great post. I'm flabbergasted how unrealistic my fellow millennials are in believing what Bernie is promising. He is either lying about what he truly believes he can accomplish or he is delusional. Either way, why would we want him as president? And I too am disappointed in being treated as the enemy by my friends because I support Hillary. I'm terrified that my friends who are by and large well educated refuse to have a legitimate conversation with me about her track record and the compromises she has made to further the liberal progressive agenda. There is no interest in having a face to face in depth conversation. Rather, the preferred "debate" method is to post charts "proving" how Bernie's plans are foolproof. My decision not to respond to these charts and engage in nuanced discussions (read: illogical shouting matches) on Facebook is considered cowardly. I don't know how to get through to them, even to have reasonable discourse where we agree to disagree. I'm terrified where this is all going. If people of my generation are so easily swayed by unrealistic promises, how soon are we going to see a truly destructive demagogue in power? #thisiswhywecanthavenicethings

melpheos said...

OMG... This is one of the most stupid column i ever read.
Bernie Sanders cant win in a general election you say ? How come ALL the poll shows him winning against ANY candidate but Rubio (Tie)
Hillary Clinton win too against all but in the statistical margin of error and loose clearly against Rubio.

Yes Bernie will not be able to pass all the reform he wishes but at least it will be meaningfull reform.
Hillary will promote weak reforms which will like Obamacare be transformed into republican reforms.

Hillary is not a democrat. She is a center right politician sold to the big corporation exactly like Obama was.

Bernie is honest and not bought. He has an history of compromise without submission.

Anonymous said...

The Bernie folks here are no surprise. The real question is: Will they vote for the Dem nominee in November? The election is really about which way the Supreme Court will lean for the next 30 years. And yes, Hillary is a member of the Democratic Party unlike Bernie. Go to fivethirtyeight.com and click on the primary forecasts link at the top. Nate Silver hasn't been wrong yet!