BernieBros is Gaslighting

The “Bernie Bro” trope has its roots in 2008 with Hillary Clinton’s negative campaign against Obama supporters. She called them “Obama Boys” and smeared them as sexist. In 2016, she used the same strategy against Bernie Sanders with almost identical language; she called his supporters “Bernie Bros.” The spin was manufactured and not based on objective reality, although people of every variety sometimes behave badly on the internet.

So now in 2020, the pattern has been established. The media and opposition are exploiting the old familiar messaging.

The people in power who hold media megaphones tend to oppose Bernie. Therefore they run into arguments and perhaps receive snarky put-downs from Bernie supporters.

This behavior isn’t limited to supporters of any one candidate. New Bernie supporters can be surprised by the level of verbal abuse they receive from other camps. It has become clear that Bernie supporters are not more aggressive or negative than others. The opposite may be true.

An environment has been created which sanctions hatred and abuse of those who promote Bernie Sanders and his call for a more just and compassionate society. This whole dynamic dates back 8 years before Bernie was even in the running. It is gaslighting, and there is no empirical way to prove the myth wrong, so it can feel frustrating.

Those of us in this movement know this campaign is about compassion, solidarity, cooperation, and love.

The media should question these cheap shots against us and stop reinforcing the negative, divisive, and false messaging about the Sanders campaign and our movement. It is harmful to democracy.

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