In recent days, a small subset of self-described Bernie supporters has been harassing AP reporters, at least one New York Times reporter, an NPR reporter, this BNR writer, and other female writers whom they have decided are hostile to their candidate.
The harassment has come via phone, email, and social media from self-identified Bernie supporters. Though there has been well-documented and sustained harassment of (particularly female, and especially women of color) Hillary supporters and/or Bernie critics throughout this primary, there was an escalation with a focus on reporters following the AP’s announcement that Hillary had enough combined delegates to clinch the Democratic nomination.
To be clear: This is a very small minority of Bernie supporters. There is a larger majority (71 versus 64 percent) of Bernie supporters who say they support Hillary in the general than Hillary supporters who said they would support then-candidate Barack Obama at this time in 2008. “And yes, it did take time, but those skeptical Clinton supporters did gradually come around to help elect Obama.”
Post-ABC polling tracked Clinton’s 2008 primary supporters throughout the fall campaign and found they steadily gravitated toward Obama during the general election. Obama’s support among Clinton primary supporters rose from 64 percent in May to 73 percent in mid-September, 79 percent in mid-October and 83 percent by Election Day, according to the national network exit poll.
Unity came slowly but surely then, and it will come slowly but surely this time because the fact is this: Hillary and Bernie are both progressives, whose primary difference is in approach, not in beliefs. Hillary is a pragmatic progressive who knows how to work the system to get things done, and most progressive people will come to see that, if they don’t already.
People who engage in harassment of women with whom they disagree, and who advocate voting for Donald Trump just to watch the world burn, which would disproportionately affect people of color and other marginalized populations, aren’t expressing progressive ideals. And they’re harming Bernie’s millions of supporters who would never engage in these tactics.
They are outliers from the shared commitments the vast majority of Hillary and Bernie supporters have to justice and equality. We may favor different approaches to get there, but most of us, no matter which candidate we back, believe that attacking women and sacrificing the tenuous security of our most vulnerable is not what we want progressive politics to look like.
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)