Michelle Goldberg of Slate recently penned what I am sure she thought was a scathing takedown of Susan Sarandon’s latest viral video. In the article, Goldberg calls out the arrogance of the Bernie-or-Bust movement by saying that “Sarandon, a rich white celebrity with nothing on the line, is a perfect spokeswoman for it…” It must be easy for Ms. Goldberg to draw that conclusion, especially if the narrative you’re trying to push is that Bernie or Bust is a stance based on privilege. Let’s ignore the fact that Black Lives Matter, a group of activists with presumably everything on the line in a Donald Trump presidency, have also said they won’t endorse Hillary, or Bernie for that matter. Essentially, Goldberg’s position is just an extension of the bigger narrative being fed to us: that Bernie’s message only plays well with white people (a notion so utterly tone deaf it has spawned its own Twitter hashtag #berniemademewhite).
Goldberg conveniently ignores recent poll numbers which are already saying nominating Hillary Clinton could result in a Republican presidency. This is easy to do when trying to find a narrative to counter the fact that Hillary, by many accounts, is an awful candidate.
In her piece, Goldberg chastises Bernie or Busters, comparing them to the Ralph Nader movement which some believe cost Democrats the White House in 2000. “George W. Bush, Nader argued then, could serve as a “provocateur,” awakening the power of the left. ‘If it were a choice between a provocateur and an ‘anesthetizer,’ I’d rather have a provocateur,’ said Nader. ‘It would mobilize us.’”
Ironically, Goldberg at least realizes that Bush’s presidency was one of the reasons we were able to elect the first black president… that was the mobilization. She even points out that Bush’s presidency may have mobilized us to the point that Bernie, a democratic socialist, is even a viable candidate today. “Yet,” she adds, “the Bush example should also make it obvious that the cost of electing a Republican provocateur is human misery on an inconceivable scale.” This again ignores that Hillary Clinton voted for human misery on a inconceivable scale when she lent her support to the Iraq War; voting against 60% of Congressional Democrats and likely helping change the minds of the Senators who would have otherwise voted against it.
“The problems with Sarandon’s position go beyond its tolerance for human sacrifice,” Goldberg offers as a way to show how completely and unabashedly she’s come to wear her cognitive dissonance. Tolerance for human suffering is exactly why Bernie-or-Busters have a problem with Hillary. One could argue that Hillary even has a penchant for human sacrifice. Look at her record: her Iraq war vote, her proudly saying that she’d made enemies with Iran just months after the Obama administration brokered a peaceful nuclear deal, her participation in multiple regime change interventions during in her time as Secretary of State, her close relationship with Kissinger. As Glenn Greenwald from the Intercept points out, Hillary Clinton has gotten cozy with some of the most ruthless despots in the world.
But Goldberg is not done showing off how willfully ignorant Hillary supporters have become. She makes it as easy to point out as 1,2,3. She contends that “It is the structural obstacles to democracy systematically erected by Republicans and Republican-appointed judges: the widespread erosion of voting rights, the unlimited flood of money into politics unleashed by the Supreme Court, and the epic gerrymandering following the 2010 census that makes it nearly impossible for Democrats to win back the House…”
1) The erosion of voting rights is arguably what helped propel Clinton to such wide margins of victory in North Carolina and especially Arizona, where rampant voter suppression of Bernie voters is being well-documented.
2) It’s hard to believe that Hillary even has a problem with the unlimited flood of money flowing from Wall Street and corporate donors, especially since the DNC lifted Obama-imposed restrictions on Super PAC money, and she’s the only candidate running who has a super PAC.
3) It would be almost as impossible for Democrats to win back the House anyways during a Clinton Presidency, given that she has one of the lowest favorability rankings of any candidate running, and her nomination would render voiceless the progressive base of the Democratic Party.
Perhaps Goldberg could have taken up a position against the black activist who said:
“I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Council-er or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action;” who paternalistically feels he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”
Of course Goldberg could do that, but she would be taking up a position against Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the man that Bernie Sanders marched with while Hillary Clinton was campaigning with Barry Goldwater, a candidate who famously sought to undo the Civil Rights movement.