In Defense of the “Bernie Bro”

1-iIbLYircqEGaKix3Lma7NwThe 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 61245868fire 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.

downloadSo, 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.

Jason Newell

Jason is 28-years-old, a dual citizen (of both the U.S. and Peru), and he currently resides in Costa Mesa, CA. He received his B.A. from the University of Oregon, where he majored in Political Science. (At Oregon, he was a member of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society.) After graduating, Jason completed one year of law school at Whittier and then successfully transferred into Lewis & Clark Law School. (At Whittier, he received a CALI Award [Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction] in Legal Writing [i.e. top of the class] and finished on the dean’s list and honor roll.) However, his interests changed and he transferred to George Washington University in order to receive a graduate degree in political management. Recently, Jason opened an educational company with a good friend from college. His company creates course curriculum, tutors students, and will eventually provide a global marketplace where students can bid on educational assistance.

18 thoughts on “In Defense of the “Bernie Bro”

  • February 27, 2016 at 5:00 pm
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    If you want to see BernieBros in action, set up a female-named sockpuppet on Twitter, post the mildest thing you can think of in support of Hillary, using the #IMWITHHER hashtag, and wait a few minutes.

    Easiest way I know to find out exactly what a BernieBro is.

    • February 27, 2016 at 5:19 pm
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      I bet there are a few, but that is a huge generalization. Do you have proof of this blatant sexism? If so, I’d like to see documented sources.

      • February 28, 2016 at 11:58 am
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        The Bernie Bro ‘sexist’ connotation is a result of Astroturfing on social forums. Hillary Clinton PACs and her attack dog David Brock’s PAC Correct the Record use paid- astroturfers to act like misogynist Bernie male supporters in order to try to get female supporters to switch to Clinton.

        Astroturfers are also known as Trolls or Sock Puppets. It’s a growing problem as corporations also use astroturfers to try to influence debate. Oil companies for instance talking about global warming as debatable science in forums.

        But what the Clinton side is doing is simple campaign dirty tricks. The astroturfers have used various attacks on Sanders including ageism, false accusations about his record, etc.

        Here’s how tricky the Bernie Bro astroturfer ploy worked. If you remember, just before New Hampshire Bill Clinton complained about the on-line sexism of Bernie Bros and Sanders denounced them. Bill most certainly KNEW they were astroturfers paid by David Brock and used that knowledge as an attack on Sanders. Brock’s Correct the Record PAC works directly with the Clinton campaign and Brock is their dirty trick boy. And we know Slick Willy’s ways.

  • February 27, 2016 at 5:13 pm
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    The whole “Bernie Bro” thing isn’t surprising, being made by Hillary supporters. Before Sanders, they created some of the more intensive Obama conspiracies when he got more popular, like him being sexist, or in the more common cases, a Muslim or the birth certificate stuff that most of the extreme right-wingers usually flock to. It won’t be long before the supporters dabble in crazy anti-semitic conspiracy theories too.

    Also, Gloria Sanders once called Bernie an “honorary woman” back in ’96, IIRC. Quite contradictory compared to her comment now, eh?

    • February 27, 2016 at 5:14 pm
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      Also, forgot to point this out – didn’t try to sound like a Bernie Bro guy, but the common facade of it, I mean.

      Sorry, I completely worded what I said wrong.

      • February 27, 2016 at 5:18 pm
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        Not at all – I totally understood your points. I hope you enjoyed the blog my friend.

    • February 28, 2016 at 7:09 am
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      You mean Gloria Steinman, not Sanders….

  • February 27, 2016 at 5:57 pm
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    Hey man, you are a bro in the positive sense … in that a true bro cares for the well-being of his crew, and in the context of this campaign, our crew is the downtrodden of this country. From women making 79 cents on the dollar compared to men, to African Americans getting shot down in the street by trigger happy cops. Am I a bro? Hell yeah! And so are you. Let’s own this label, and not let the Hillbots define us!

    • February 27, 2016 at 6:01 pm
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      I loved this response – it was very Foucauldian of you to suggest changing the meaning of a term with a negative connotation attached toward a positive definition. And I’m glad that you have strong reading comprehension and understood my overarching point.

  • February 28, 2016 at 7:13 am
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    I completely understand what you’re saying and agree with it. My question is, what are they calling all of us females (over 30 so not a millennial) that are strong supporters of Bernie and cannot stand the sight or sound of HRC? That woman makes my skin crawl!

    • February 28, 2016 at 2:54 pm
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      Well, they would probably assume that you’re “wifed up” or in a stable relationship. The primary assumption is that single millennials are susceptible to their raging hormones. Single college girls have to be agreeable with the boys they like or else!

  • February 29, 2016 at 10:05 am
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    Thank you for this. I myself am a middle-aged woman (supposedly H’s demographic) but I have been supporting Bernie for 20+ years and see no reason to stop now! The anti-Bernie forces, be they Brock or Republicans, are all about the divide-and-conquer. — Sara in Vermont

    • February 29, 2016 at 3:47 pm
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      You’re so welcome. In solidarity!

  • March 6, 2016 at 8:52 pm
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    Wow, this article is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing
    these sorts of things, thus I am going to let know her.

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