There was a moment in the 2016 race when Bernie could have emerged a hero. That moment is long gone. Bernie knows it. Instead of working to rehabilitate his damaged image, he is doubling down on his intransigence. As a result, online commentary about him has turned decidedly negative.
As we explained after Bernie slammed Hillary on CNN yesterday, for him to fashion himself as the savior of the Democratic Party and assert that Hillary has to “make it clear which side she’s on,” is extremely unhelpful, to say the least.
It creates the appearance of discord with Democrats like President Obama, Vice President Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi and others who have worked to ensure unity in the face of a radical GOP and an unhinged Donald Trump.
And importantly, it’s a disservice to his supporters, who are certainly not helped by his stubborn unwillingness to play a useful role in the general election.
We still don’t believe Bernie is hurting Hillary with this behavior — she’s dealt with much worse and she’s winning — but he’s clearly ruining his own legacy.
That’s not something any progressive should feel good about.
What’s true for Bernie is thankfully not true for the vast majority of his voters. Hillary’s supporters have welcomed them with open arms and open hearts, excited about the prospect of working together to elect her in November. And it is thrilling to see them come home in significant numbers:
But even as we cheer the rapid move from Bernie to Hillary among his supporters, we note the growing anger against him as reflected in online commentary.
Granted, social media is not a perfect proxy for the wider electorate, but it is notable how dramatically the sentiment has shifted. When once it was Hillary subjected to endless attacks and insults on Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms, it is now Bernie getting verbally eviscerated.
The commentary is so derisive and dismissive that we won’t republish it here. Suffice it to say that Bernie may want to read some of it himself to get a sense of how badly he is damaging his own image.
UPDATE: Greg Sargent writes about Bernie’s waning influence.
It’s unclear at this point how much withholding that endorsement will actually do to accomplish what he wants to accomplish. Today Elizabeth Warren gave a rousing speech with Clinton in Ohio in which she attacked Trump in spirited, populist terms before a wildly cheering crowd. Warren is filling the space that Sanders might have inhabited … Meanwhile, this week’s Post poll found that only eight percent of Sanders supporters say they’ll back Trump, dramatically down from 20 percent last month — meaning that Sanders’ supporters may be rallying to Clinton even if Sanders himself isn’t. Events are moving on.