The idea has taken hold in some circles that a fair number of Bernie Sanders supporters are sexist. Dagblogger PeraclesPlease describes “leftist misogyny” as “waiting for the right woman [not Clinton]”. At Salon, the reliably misandrist Amanda Marcotte identifies a “Bernie bro phenomenon” consisting “of young men whose enthusiasm for socialism is goosed by an unacknowledged sexism”. Slate’s more credible Michelle Goldberg contends many male Bernie backers “certainly don’t care about female leadership.”
If you are now expecting a critique of these claims and their espousers for using them to avoid a discussion of the real and important policy differences between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, prepare to be disappointed. Within every age group, Clinton appeals to a higher percentage of women than Sanders even though Clinton’s more conservative record should be more appealing to the more conservative sex. Plausibly, moderate to conservative Democratic men prefer Sanders because he’s a man.
In fact, I frequently question why I feel only contempt for the centrist Hillary Clinton. Most of the time, I attribute it to our very different positions on any number of issues as well as her questionable character, dubious ethics, and history of dishonesty. But to be fair, her husband shares
many of these unpleasant traits. Likewise, Barack Obama has betrayed his mandate and nation by pursuing damaging corporatist and militarist policies.
Yet I harbor affection for (as well as antipathy towards) both recent Democratic Presidents with whom I would love play a pickup basketball game and then share a beer. Such feelings are consistent with a sexist attitude. Accordingly, I do not reject out-of-hand the Peracles-Marcotte-Goldberg sexism thesis. On the other hand, I have no interest in hanging out with Bernie Sanders and am confident I would vote for Elizabeth Warren in a heartbeat.
So ladies, you may well be right when you claim some sons of Sanders are just “he-man women-haters” at heart. My response is so what. What good does it do to hang a scarlet S around our necks?
You want us to support Clinton enthusiastically in the general election if she wins the Democratic nomination right? Presumably, you’d like to peel some of us away from Sanders over the next few months to make her expected victory in the Democratic primaries even more decisive than it seems likely to be. This would allow her to conserve resources for the bigger fight ahead.
As the old saying goes, you’re more likely to catch flies with honey than vinegar. So take us Bernie bros (and sisses – more women under 30 prefer Bernie) at our word. Believe or at least pretend you believe we are sincere when we tell you Hillary scares us.
Patiently explain to us cavemen that she’s not likely to embroil America in another destructive Middle East war despite her history and recent bellicose rhetoric. Convince us that we can trust her when she says that she’s against the Trans Pacific Partnership notwithstanding her previous support and votes in favor of past free trade deals. Persuade us that her opposition to a new Glass-Steagall Act and a $15 national minimum wage doesn’t signify the ascendancy of Wall Street over Main Street in her political calculations.
When you play the gender card, provide concrete evidence that Hillary’s womanhood will result in women-friendly policies despite her close relationship with the government of Singapore which is a destination country for traffickers of girls and women. Assuage our concerns that she’s Rupert Murdoch’s favorite Democrat. After all, at the last debate, she relied on a debunked Wall Street Journal to claim Bernie’s healthcare and college education plans will cost Americans $18-20 billion rather than save billions.
Finally ladies, if you really are concerned about electing the best candidate and making America a better place for our children and their children, take us seriously. As men, we may incorrectly believe we deserve the last word. But indulge us XY Democrats anyway – not with the last word if course but with a seat at the table. It’s just barely possible, isn’t it, that despite our chauvinism we may have doped this race out pretty well.