Thursday, February 27, 2020


Leonard Pitts Jr. of the Miami Herald is distressed by the behavior of some of the most rabid supporters of Bernie Sanders:
You’d have thought she had thrown Bernie Sanders to his death from a tower of million-dollar bills.

Actually, what film director Ava DuVernay tweeted on Saturday was just a mild rebuke: “I’m undecided. But I know this isn’t what I want.” She was responding to a Sanders tweet warning the Democratic and Republican establishments that, “They can’t stop us.”

In response to her response, a digital mob numbering in the thousands descended upon DuVernay. Many contented themselves with noting how “surprised” and “disappointed” they were at her failure to appreciate the senator’s wonderfulness. Others went below and beyond, calling her “bitch” and, more insulting, “right winger.” There were isolated death threats.
Here's some of what Pitts is citing:

Pitts continues:
... it’s hard not to believe that Sanders could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose any supporters....
Is that true?

If Sanders shot someone on Fifth Avenue, I believe there are quite a few supporters he wouldn't lose. I can imagine waves of tweeters quoting Mao Zedong's "A revolution is not a dinner party" in support of him.

But I'm also looking at the numbers. In this year's New Hampshire Democratic primary, half of voters decided in the last few days, according to exit polls -- and of those, 17% chose Sanders. So more than 8% of the primary electorate consisted of Sanders voters who weren't committed to the candidate until shortly before the vote.

The Real Clear Politics national average now says that Sanders has the support of 29.2% of Democratic voters -- but the number was 19.1% on January 1, and 16.3% on December 1.

I think rival candidates made a mistake in assuming that it's impossible to dissuade Sanders supporters. They're not all Bernie bros. They're not all diehards. I believe that, especially among the young, Sanders is the Beatles or Elvis -- a cultural phenomenon everyone embraces. But he clearly has soft support.

I believe that most Trump voters would assume that if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue, he had a good reason. I believe that about fewer Sanders supporters. There is a Sanders cult, but his support now transcends that cult. And when I think of the many people I know who backed Sanders in 2016 and now back Elizabeth Warren, I know that Sanders has won a lot of voters who aren't hero-woshippers. Sandezrs cultists make a lot of noise, but murder would drive his non-cultish supporters away.

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