The question that I have for the users of the term Bernie bro is: how exactly do you define a Bernie Bro? My assumption is that this term was created because of a general loathing of passionate Sanders supporters who supposedly prioritize idealism over pragmatism. Another definition making the rounds is a young hipster, tech bro, or muscle dumby – all three seem like very simplistic definitions, but a negative connotation is attached to the aforementioned demographics: sexist. According to some Hillary supporters, the impetus behind the Sanders’ wave reflects a closeted sexism toward female candidates. This sexist classification can also be validated by high profile Hillary supporters, such as Gloria Steinem, who made a guest appearance on Bill Maher and said the following:
“And when you’re young, you’re thinking, you know, where are the boys? The boys are with Bernie, or, you know …”
First of all, this statement is borderline offensive as it assumes that young women are too preoccupied with their libido to be able to make rational political decisions – a very GOP-esque talking point. Moreover, what can be inferred is an assumption that young women would instinctually vote for Clinton as she is “one of their own.” The sentiment being expressed by some Hillary supporters is sexist in and of itself – believing that young women are beholden to a female candidate due to sex is not much different than thinking that African-Americans should outright support Ben Carson based on race. And while I understand that there’s a difference in regards to their respective policy positions, expecting loyal support based on a biological trait is incredibly one-dimensional.
But let’s dig deeper into the Bernie Bro classification. Is the label Bernie Bro used to highlight impractical, lofty idealism? More specifically, is the Bernie Bro’s support of Sanders no more than an initial infatuation with a compelling political candidate? I don’t recall Barack Obama supporters being referred to as “Obama Bros,” but some Sanders supporters have told me that the same thing happened in ’08. Apparently, it was a crafty scheme concocted by the Hillary campaign. Obama’s rhetoric centered on revolutionary proposals like health care reform – did Hillary supporters classify male Obama supports in ’08 as too idealistic? Who knows, this epithet might be a consequence of America’s new wave of PC culture, whereby banning certain types of speech on college campuses has become the new norm. Maybe Bernie Bros say uncouth things on social media; but, from what I’ve seen, they’re primarily sticking to legitimate criticisms of Hillary Clinton.
I know! A Bernie Bro is a Sanders supporter who calls out Clinton’s fabrications and political flip-flopping. Is a Bernie Bro a person that demands the she release her Goldman Sachs speech transcripts? No, I got it! A Bernie Bro is someone who calls out Clinton’s Iraq War vote and sniper fire in Bosnia lie. Wait, I think I’m on to something…Here’s a new definition: a Bernie Bro is 1) a young passionate man that’s interested in seeing his country taken back from corporate oligarchy; 2) a young passionate man who appeals to facts rather than value judgments in order to construct cogent arguments; and 3), a young passionate man who dislikes candidates with integrity issues and documented political inconsistencies.
No, no – I really got it this time: a Bernie Bro is a zombified Sanders supporter that really is no different than a Trump supporter because both respective political enclaves are angry young males who are easily mislead by falsehoods. Both bases are conditioned to believe in policy proposals and rhetoric that is both mystifying and thus unrealistic. However, this isn’t a fair assessment. While some Bernie Bros are politically illiterate (I excuse this though as many are first time political participants) and passionate to a fault, at least they’re supporting a candidate that seeks to tell the truth.
I mean, come on, have you seen Trump’s Politifact file? Trump followers disregard factual realities in favor of fervent nationalism that is built on complete fabrications. In contrast, Sanders supporters argue from a set of facts disseminated by the Sanders campaign, such as wealth inequality being at historically high levels. And they respond by advocating for a solution to the issue of income discrepancy. This is an argument drawn from a data set – not a value judgment. Trump supporters would have you believe that wealth inequality is a good thing as long as the free market is given free reign. Anyway, it’s unfair to compare the two support bases because Sanders supporters are simply a reflection of a truth telling politician.
Actually, wait a sec. I would presumably be placed into the category of a Bernie bro as I’m in my late 20s and a Sanders supporter. So, why don’t I tell you bit about myself: I am currently am a student at George Washington University, where I’m receiving a graduate degree in Political Management. I attended law school prior to attending George Washington University. I work my ass off for a publishing company. I describe myself as a commonsensical liberal. I’m an avid feminist. I’m a staunch supporter of civil rights. I support the LGBT community. I favor a mixed economy with a strong social safety net – I believe that a financially stable society is far better for the free market than unprecedented wealth inequality. Hell, I even support the Milton Friedman model of a minimum government subsidized salary for poor individuals. I believe in the Second Amendment as long as guns are sufficiently regulated. I defer to the scientist on climate change – it’s real and it’s occurring now. I could go on and on, but my point is: I guess – based on my political stances – that I’m considered a Bernie Bro.
So, is it a bad thing to be identified as a Bernie Bro? Absolutely not. If anything, you should keep your head held high. We are not supporting Bernie because he’s a man – we’re supporting Bernie because he demands that democracy be returned to the American people. By the way, the majority of Bernie Bros supports women’s rights. From now on, when someone calls you a Bernie Bro, be the bigger man (no pun intended), smile, and know that you’re supporting a candidate with unparralled integrity and sage-like wisdom.
To the Bernie Bro – I salute you.