Looking For Bernie, Part 1: Sanders '72

[CN:Silencing, gaslighting, rape and abuse, rape culture, white supremacy, racist erasure, white privilege, male privilege. This is the first in a 4 part series.]

At first I thought, "Maybe Bernie Sanders has a woman problem."

It boggled my mind to think it. I'd always heard him spoken of as a liberal lion progressive honey badger, a guy who courageously took on unpopular stances, and simply did not give a fuck about conservative detractors. Go Bernie! Like a lot of people, I knew he was a socialist, and an Independent. From the snippets I'd gotten, he seemed to be a mix of Eugene Debs, and Rosa Luxemburg and Tommy Douglas combined, with a little bit of Alice Paul, Harvey Milk, and A. Phillip Randolph sprinkled in.

I thought I knew him. And what I knew, I liked very much.

 photo cartoon of Sanders Sanderscartoon_zpsurnuxh8s.jpg
["Bernie Sanders-Caricature" by Donkeyhotey is licensed under CC 2.0.]

But then came the release of his 1972 essay from the Vermont Freeman, a strange, free-wheeling reflection on relations between a man and a woman that included references to the man sexually fantasizing about women being abused, a woman sexually fantasizing about being raped, everybody wanting to read articles about the sexual abuse of 14 year olds, and a 13 year old girl with a "sex friend." Whut.

As someone who teaches women's history, I know enough about gender relations in 1972 to take it in context. It wasn't totally atypical of the crap some (but not all) male radicals were writing when it came to sexuality and "the revolution." That didn't make it any less awful, or more feminist. I assumed (from what I—vaguely—knew of Sanders) that he'd acknowledge the hurtful language, explain that he'd changed, and apologize. Problem solved.

I was wrong.

Instead his campaign trumpeted every brogressive excuse in the book. "It's a joke!" (But jokes can be harmful, and intent is not magic.) "It's bad 50 Shades of Gray fiction." (But 50 Shades of Gray glorifies abuse.) Then his fans got in on it. "Sanders has good votes!" (True! Which is why I'd expect him to understand the criticism.) "Don't crucify him!" (Criticism from feminists is not a violent attack.)

Silencing, gaslighting, minimizing. Huh?

Then there was his campaign appropriating #BlackLivesMatter to talk about jobs. Then there was Bernie Sanders whitesplaining not only how POC vote, but also how POC should be voting: "You should not be basing your politics based on your color." Here was Bernie Sanders' former chief of staff and close advisor talking about how Democrats really need to be courting white people. And here were his internet fanboys, on Facebook and twitter and in the comments of articles which ask why Sanders doesn't talk about race and gender, telling us to STFU because Bernie is THE MOST PROGRESSIVE. (Since when is that a productive way to evaluate a candidate?)

I changed my question. Does Sanders have a privilege problem? To find out, I went looking for Bernie.

(If you're not familiar with privilege, and its effects, you'll need to educate yourself before reading the rest. If the term only means economic privilege to you, and you've never heard of [among others] white privilege or Christian privilege or thin privilege, or the places where privilege and oppression intersect, then this essay will be incomprehensible to you.)

I went looking in the history, because that's how I understand things. I started at the beginning and went forward. I didn't want to rely on other bloggers' accounts. So as much as possible, I dug into old newspapers. There aren't any archive-only documents here; everything is online, in one place or another. But as much as possible, I've used news stories and items from the time of the events involved, or close thereafter.

I went looking for the activist and politician. So you're not going to find any irrelevant and intrusive nonsense about his personal life, his partners or other family, who deserve their damn privacy. This isn't a hit piece. But maybe it's a corrective, an attempt to bring some reality to the overinflated claims about his psychic ability to always be right about everything progressives care about in 2015. I wanted to look at his story through the lens of intersectional feminism. From that perspective, it matters, a lot, how candidates talk about marginalized groups; it's not enough to have some good votes in Congress if you're also legitimizing oppression in other ways. I've got some particular questions, especially (but not solely) around race and gender; not everyone is equally interested in those questions, but they are central to the purpose of this space.

I went looking for Bernie. And here is what I found.


 photo b9194fd5-43f5-44db-a1fa-500dd9377b90_zpsi3r8qwlg.png
[Picture originally published in the Bennington Banner, Tuesday, Sept 17, 1974.]

Let's start with the late 60s and early 70s, since there have been a flurry of pieces recently discussing more of Sanders' early 1970s essays, his general participation in Vermont's radical scene, and his early political life. If you want to know about his earlier years, his time at the University of Chicago, including his anti-segregation work and other activities, has been covered elsewhere. I'm interested in his early political life in Vermont. He wrote for several alternative publications, did some community organizing, and ran for office on the Liberty Union ticket. Like others in his cohort, he was broke a lot, and lived on unemployment, his carpentry, or the sale of his educational filmstrips. Or his writing.

His writings ranged over a broad range of subjects, but when he got the chance, he frequently turned to revolution. Against the establishment, against class restrictions, and against government restrictions on the individual rights. A rejection of Vietnam and other wars, using those monies to address class inequities. The decriminalization of drugs, abortion, and other areas where the government infringes on individual rights. The essays certainly touch on gender issues, but most often as related to broader themes of liberation, including sexual. Sometimes, yes, they are downright creepy. In every case, they seem to reflect a Sanders who cares about equality generally, but hadn't engaged with feminism, or considered his male privilege, at all.

For example, in "The Revolution is Life Versus Death," published the Vermont Freeman in November 1969, Sanders ruminates on the film I Am Curious (Yellow), apparently concerned that those under 18 were not permitted to view the sexually explicitly movie. I think his concern is false modesty and sexual ignorance, because he then muses (in response to an incident at a Vermont beach): "Now, if children go around naked, htey [sic] are liable to see one another's sex organs, and maybe touch them. Terrible thing! If we bring children up like this, it will probably ruin the whole pornography business, not to mention a large portion of the general economy that makes its money by playing on people's sexual frustrations." I really wish he'd put something about teaching children to ask before touching someone else. I don't want to be disappointed so early in my quest.

He goes on to note that "[t]he Revolution is coming, and it is a very beautiful revolution... The revolution comes when two strangers smile at each other. …when a commune is started and people start to trust one another, when a young man refuses to go to war and when a girl pushes aside all that her mother has 'taught' her and accepts her boyfriends [sic] love."

The rape-y logic that a woman "accepting" her boyfriend's pressure for sex is somehow revolutionary was not uncommon at the time. But there were plenty of feminists out there at the time fighting back; the earliest version of Our Bodies, Ourselves spends a lot of time trying to help women work through pressure from both patriarchal tradition and the male entitlement of the Sexual Revolution. Suggesting that a woman is brainwashed by her parents just because she doesn't want to have sex with a dude, as Sanders does, is simply the inverse of suggesting she's a slut if she does. (Bonus gross points for equating patriarchal control with her mother!) I don't see much understanding of feminism here.

Sanders' additional claim that many social ills were related to the sexual repression of young people was also suggested in another 1969 essay, "Society, cancer and disease," in which he muses over a 1952 study that correlated the inability to orgasm with breast cancer; he also discusses a 1954 study suggesting that women with cancer of the cervix tended to have a dislike of sexual intercourse. These aren't Sanders' fantasies; they're scientific studies (albeit minority opinions). But the conclusions he draws are all his own:

…What do you think it really means when 3 doctors, after intense study, write that 'of the 26 patients (under 51) that developed breast cancer, one was sexually adjusted.' It means, very bluntly, that the way you bring up your daughter with regards to sexual attitudes may very well determine whether or not she will get breast cancer, among other things…How much guilt, nervousness have you imbued in your daughter with regard to sex? If she is 16, 3 years beyond puberty, the age at which nature set forth for child bearing, and spent a night out with her boyfriend, what is your reaction? Do you take her to a psychologist because she is 'maladjusted,' or a 'prostitute,' or are you happy she has found someone with whom she can share love? Are you concerned about HER happiness, or about your 'reputation' in the community?

The reference to 13 years being at the age when nature prescribed childbirth is gross. His concern, that teenage women "share" or "accept" love from men, for their own good (cancer!), is some pretty amazing trolling. If the revolution includes this much patriarchy, count me out, Bernie.

Sanders voices concern over men getting cancer as well, but apparently they don't have to blame their sexual attitudes. Rather, it's female authority figures who are to blame:

A child has an old bitch of a teacher (and there are many of them), or perhaps he is simply not interested in school and would rather be doing other thing. [sic] He complains and rebels against the situation, which is the healthy reaction. When a person is hurt, no matter what age, he SHOULD rebel…. Outwardly, he becomes the "good boy", [sic] conforming to the rules and regulations of the system. Inwardly, his spirit is broken, and his soul seethes with anger and hatred, which is unable to be expressed. He has learned to hold back his emotions and put on the phony façade of pleasantness. Thirty years later, a doctor tells him he has cancer.

So, men's anger is suppressed by old women, who represent the oppressive power system that gives men cancer. Considering that anger is one of the few emotions (white) men are traditionally allowed to express in a patriarchal society, this doesn't sound so much revolutionary as reactionary. Was he serious that *men* are the ones obliged to bury their anger "under a façade of pleasantness"? I'm sorry, but this is not the fearless feminist I was looking for.

In fact, Sanders was so far removed from feminist analyses of oppression that he suggested women bore some responsibility for it. While the rapey sexual passages of his 1972 Vermont Freeman essay have been thoroughly quoted, this passage has drawn less attention:

Women, for their own preservation, are trying to pull themselves together. And it's necessary for all of humanity that they do so. Slavishness on one hand breeds pigness on the other hand. Pigness on one hand breeds slavishness on the other… On one hand "slavishness," on the other hand "pigness." Six of one, half dozen of the other. Who wins?

Presenting the oppression of women as somehow resulting from "slavishness," seems to put the responsibility for gendered oppression on women's acquiescence. Women have to take responsibility for bootstrapping themselves out of patriarchy! (The particular use of the word "slavish" is also wince-inducing, considering the racial history embedded in the term. That sort of erasure and appropriation was something that white feminists (like Robin Morgan) were doing a lot, so Sanders isn't uniquely gross here. Ugly white privilege all around.)

Sanders' essay also includes another classic 101-level bit of false equivalency: women's mistrust of men, based on their experiences with oppression from men, is "misandry," and therefore somehow the equivalent of male oppression:

…"But in reality," he said, "if you ever loved me, or wanted me, or needed me (all of which I'm not certain was ever true), you also hated me. You hated me—just as you have hated every man in your entire life, but you didn't have the guts to tell me that…. You hated me not because of who I am, or what I was to you, but because I am a man. You did not deal with me as a person—as me. You lived a lie with me, used me and played games with me—and that's a piggy thing to do.

This kind of false equivalency (addressed by Liss at this blog in "The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck") is probably something that 70s Sanders would have immediately recognized, if it were in a class-based analysis. No intelligent leftist of his generation would have accepted to idea that a poor person's suspicion of the rich was equivalent to their oppression of the poor! Yet here we find women being "piggy," a not-too-subtle word choice in an era when "male chauvinist pig" was entering the lexicon.

So, based on a limited sampling of his essays, Sanders is sounding a bit like a Shakesville troll crying misandry. I do not think I would have enjoyed being at a party with early 70s Bernie Sanders! But more importantly, would I have voted for him?

Sanders ran as a candidate in a number of elections for governor and for Senator from 1971-1976, on the Liberty Union Party ticket. (These included two different elections in 1972: a January vote for senator and a November vote for governor.) His campaign rhetoric, as recorded through his own writing and newspaper reports, centered on concerns with the Vietnam war, economic injustice, and Nixon-era government infringements on civil liberties—a fiercely social libertarian stance that rejected government interference in personal liberties. Frequently, these concerns overlapped with gay liberation (as it was then known), anti-racism, and women's rights. So it's important to put those concerns in full context of time and place in order to understand what Sanders was supporting.

For example, Salon recently re-published one of Sanders' 1972 letters to the Vermont Freeman, under the truly embarrassing headline, "Bernie Sanders Supported Full Marriage Equality 40 Years Ago." The article lauds Sanders for being so far ahead of his time and tut-tutting President Obama and Secretary Clinton for not supporting full marriage equality until 2012. Why is this embarrassing? Well, aside from the fact that Sanders was still squishy on his support for civil unions as late as 2000 (more on that in Part 4), it's a terribly ahistorical reading of Sanders' letter.

The goals of most participants in early gay liberation didn't include marriage. Although some same-sex couples did indeed pursue marriage licenses many more activists rejected marriage as an oppressive institution. And also? They were fighting simply to survive, to exist in peace without being jailed or beaten or tortured by "treatment" or locked in asylums. Marriage, that conservative institution, became a more widespread goal in the 1980s. (Here's a brief history of that evolution.) Although some of Sanders' current fanboys seem to view him as a Progressive Messiah, I don't think anyone has seriously suggested he has psychic powers, able to discern that ONE DAY this seemingly conservative cause would become a progressive one. So what was he supporting in the letter?

Writing in support of his own bid for governor, he lists three points of concern. Point 1 is Vermont's regressive tax structure, which Sanders criticizes for taxing consumers more than corporations. Point 2 is about the war in Vietnam, which he acknowledges as a moral and financial problem, specifically calling for its funding to be transferred to affordable housing, dental, and medical care. In point 3, he states that "[p]robably the most alarming concern of the Nixon administration has been the gradual erosion of freedoms and the sense of what freedom really means." He calls for the abolition of "all laws that impose a particular brand of morality," listing among these "all laws dealing with abortion, drugs, sexual behavior (adultery, homosexuality, etc.)" His letter ends asking for support from "all people who are disgusted with the basic status quo and who demand basic social change in this state and this country."

It's notable that Sanders addresses the decriminalization of homosexuality and abortion on a par with drug use, as part of a wider concern for civil liberties generally. That's consistent with his description of Liberty Union's platform in a Bennington Banner article from Saturday, December 11, 1971. (This and most of the other newspaper articles I am referencing are available behind a paywall at Newspapers.com.) In "What the Other Party Offers," John Leaning reports that LU candidates Sanders for Senate and Doris Lake for Congress have four areas of concern. First is the economy, and wealth inequality; Sanders is quoted as saying that "the interests of the 2 per cent directly and entirely control the economy." Point 2 is labeled as "decision making: 'Who makes the decisions in this country…the same handful of men who control the power and wealth. That has to change, because no 10 men should ever be able to control the lives of the rest.'" Third is foreign policy; Sanders decries the post-World War II imperialism of the U.S. Point 4 is freedom: "Sanders said he would seek an end to abortion laws, legalize all drugs, eliminate restrictions on birth control, and end all discrimination based on sex, race, or anything else." Sanders is then quoted going into drug decriminalization in some depth, suggesting that decriminalizing drugs (he specifically discusses heroin) would end the "kick of doing something against the government" and allow "us to know the dimensions of the problem, and be able to deal with it rationally."

Sanders addressed many other issues that campaign, and some of his out-there ideas even won praise from the "establishment." For example, he argued that hitchhiking should not be illegal, and in fact, there should be regular parts of the roadway widened so that those who wanted a ride, and those who wanted to stop to give one, could safely meet. Needless to say, I can't find any other candidates addressing this topic, although it was at that time a very common form of transportation, especially for young people without money for bus or train tickets. The Bennington Banner not only reported this, it wrote an editorial commending Sanders' idea; why have a law that everyone winks at? Sanders and Liberty Union may have been on the fringe, but they did get some positive attention for their original ideas on occasion.

The Bennington Banner also featured stories on Sanders opposing Nixon's bombing raid in North Vietnam on December 30, 1971 (an opinion shared by all but one of the other House and Senate candidates). On January 4, 3 days ahead of the special election for Senate, Sanders toured a state prison in Windsor and made remarks afterwards blasting environmental pollution and saying "...that the 'real criminals' are 'the people who allow and even promote the unemployment which enables corporations to make large profits.'"

He then gets around to the actual prisoners, blaming "the government's economic policy" and racism for joblessness: "He says that when a man who can't get a job because of the government's economic policy or because he is black, steals to get food for his children, that person is put in jail. 'It says a great deal about our country…that the richer our country gets, the more of us there are behind prison bars and that an overwhelming number of those who are in jail are poor, non-whites.'" Then he reportedly moved on to his opponent, Robert Stafford, blaming him for continuing to "vote for every major military appropriation in the last 10 years while he has been in Congress" and adding:

"The criminals who made this war will never be prosecuted," he continued, "but one soldier who massacred two dozen people is put in jail. Why is it a crime to kill one person or several dozen but not a crime to kill 200 people a day in Southeast Asia with American bombs and planes as we are doing right this minute?"

Taken in context, I can only conclude that his remarks refer to Lt. William Calley, who had been convicted in March of the premeditated murder of 22 Vietnamese civilians in connection with the My Lai massacre. The suggestion that Calley was not the only guilty party is nothing extraordinary; numerous other, more senior officers got off scot-free. But the suggestion that Calley did not deserve to be in jail (like the man who steals to get food, apparently), and the math-playing with Vietnamese lives ("One person," "several dozen" "200 people a day") are absolutely cringe-inducing. It's also strange, to say the least, to derail a very important and relevant statement about the racial injustice of American prisons to focus on a white man's imprisonment.

Let me be clear: I'm not saying that Sanders in 1972 was George Wallace, nor that his problems in speaking about race weren't a common problem for white progressives of all stripes at the time. (And it should be acknowledged that Sanders himself, a Jewish man who lost relatives in the Holocaust, has dealt with a wide range of ethnic bigotry. As Paul Kivel has explored, white privilege is complicated for European-descended Jews.) My point is this: Sanders'72 has a hard time keeping his focus on race, or addressing it intersectionally; he immediately goes back to economic hegemonies. And the result? Awkward as a basset on a surfboard.

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[Picture originally published in the Bennington Banner, Friday October 16, 1976.
Attributed to "Woolmington."]

Racial hierarchies aren't the only ones he has trouble on. He supports an end to abortion restrictions, an incredibly relevant topic in 1972. Roe v. Wade was scheduled to be re-argued that October. In Vermont, the landmark Beachy v. Leahy case had struck down state restrictions on the procedure earlier that year. Beachy v. Leahy was exactly the sort of case that one might expect Sanders to be interested in, since its reproductive rights issues were strongly wrapped up in class: a welfare recipient, in need of an abortion, could not afford to cross state lines to obtain one. Although Vermont law did not make it a crime for women to have an abortion (self-inducement, for example, was quite legal), any Vermont physician providing her medical care could be prosecuted.

But the intersection of class and gender is absent from Sander's remarks on abortion when quoted in a September 1, 1972 article in the Bennington Banner. Instead, he hits on the civil libertarian argument that politicians have no right legislating another person's body: ("[i]t strikes me as incredible that politicians think that they have a right to tell a woman what she can or cannot so with her body." He acknowledges that abortion "brings out deep feelings in people, and I respect the feelings of those who are opposed to abortion on moral grounds," but rejects the idea those are valid grounds for legislation. And then he ends noting that Women in Vermont will have abortion regardless of legal status: "The question is whether they will be forced to go to those states where abortions are legal, or whether they can be treated in their home state."

That's an extremely puzzling conclusion when an entire court case had been built around the fact that some Vermont women could not afford to travel out of state. So why focus on the social libertarian argument about government control?

Even when ostensibly addressing women directly, Sanders '72 seems to have had trouble connecting and staying focused. In a 1972 feature, Crittenden magazine provided A Feminist View of the Democratic and Liberty Union Candidates. (The magazine had previously interviewed other candidates in a separate issue.) There seem to have been some differences in the precise questions asked each candidate, but each responded to broadly similar topics deemed to be of feminist interest:

Bernard Sanders, Liberty Union Candidate for Governor.

ERA-Strongly for it.

Daycare--Should be available to anyone who wants it, with sliding fees based on income. "Day care is important, not only for parents but for kids."

Abortion--a "civil liberty" that government has no business restricting.

Consumer Rights--His view is like Ralph Nader's; he would like to see consumers on the boards of all major corporations.

Welfare Reform--The entire system should be scrapped and replaced with a $6500 income for a family of four. "Poverty is obsolete and should not be allowed."

Women's Liberation--A manifestation of blacks, women, gay people, and others "demanding control over their lives." As for women in politics, he points out that he has a female running mate--Elly Harter--and that the highest vote ever received for a Liberty Union candidate was received by Doris Lake in her campaign for Congress last year. Would he mind having a woman governor or attorney general? "Are you serious?" As for working under a woman's supervision, he points out that he's supervised by Liberty Union Chairman Martha Abbot, and has no objections. Women should have opportunities for top governmental and industrial jobs, but he would "not support someone just because she's a woman." Among steps he would like to see to bring equal pay for equal work is to raise the minimum wage to $2.50 an hour.

(Sanders also responded to a question on the Vietnam War [end it, for economic reasons] and a local environmental initiative.)

It's an interesting collection of responses. His support for the ERA, consumer rights, and abortion rights are clear—but the latter is, once again, very much a "civil liberty" issue. Women's liberation is framed entirely as an aspect of a wider revolution. His welfare reform suggests a commitment to minimum guaranteed income. And he can point to women in his own party with genuine leadership positions—more than the Democratic candidates were able to do. Well done, Sanders '72!

It's also weirdly disconnected. Women should get opportunities in government and industrial jobs, but apparently they needed no special consideration to overcome the overwhelming structural biases stacked against them. Should they bootstrap themselves out of patriarchy? And I'm not clear on how raising the minimum wage was supposed to "bring equal pay for equal work."

But perhaps the female voters responded better to Sanders. Unfortunately there are few records of his interactions with female voters, or any voters for that matter. A December 11, 1971 story about a Liberty Union campaign event, "An Evening with Sanders and Lake," details a first-person account of a reporter's encounter with the two Liberty Union candidates at a small information session. The reporter, Greg Guma (who would cover much more of Sanders in future) mostly discusses his own interactions with Sanders, who was already displaying his now-famous grumpitude:

In answer to a question about his personal political viewpoint, Senatorial candidate Sanders replied: "Obviously you haven't been listening to me. Do you know what the movement is? Have you read the books? Are you against the war in Vietnam?"

"But what do you think?" was the reply from myself. "You're an individual, not a movement."

"You don't understand. It's the movement that's important. Are you for it? If you're not, I don't want your vote."

After Sanders repeated "I don't want your vote," Guma apparently left the meeting. He concludes his article with a comment from an attendee:

The result of the rap session was summed up by Ruth Levi. "You've lost my vote," she said with a smile.

Sanders left his own record of the campaign trail, in a piece for Crittenden magazine, Fragments of a Campaign Diary. It contains sketches of his life on the campaign trail and his own blunt assessments of himself. If your picture of early 1970s Bernie Sanders is informed only by those slightly psychedelic essays for the Vermont Freeman, I'd recommend this to round out the picture. It's a straightforward series of vignettes and reflections that are very human. Here are Sanders and another candidate frugally splitting a fish dinner, down to their last few dollars. Here is Sanders enthusiastic about a "beautiful, toothless old man" telling him tales of Depression-era the socialist meetings. Here's a Vermont Labor Council delegate demanding to know where Sanders' beard was—after all, didn't all radicals have beards? Here is Sanders' frustration with a television interview where he addressed corporate greed at length, and the station "only" played back his responses on marijuana and abortion.

And here is Sanders being hard on himself when he feels he's done poorly.

Spoke to students of St. Anthony's in Bennington—and I did terribly… Spoke right off the top of my head, didn't put two coherent sentences together, and made very little allowance for the fact I was speaking to 17 year olds… I consider talking to young people very important, and it bothers me that I was unable to convey my feelings to them.

…Appeared on "You Can Quote Me" and did horrendously. It was just one of those times that I never got started and was on the defensive throughout…. It was defensiveness from thereonout…I felt disgusted with myself when I left the studio—I didn't handle myself well at all.

...the entire last week of my campaign…was directed toward telling people that they should vote what they believed in and not for what they considered the lesser of two evils. I guess it didn't work, though. On election day I expected 3 percent and was very disappointed with what I got.

(Sanders received 1 per cent of the votes.)

Perhaps the most interesting anecdote, for me, was his encounter with a group of working-class women in a factory—women with whom Sanders might expect to connect, given his interest in economic justice. It didn't quite go that way. He reports:

---Went through a factory in Bennington with endless rows of middle-aged to elderly women sitting behind sewing machines. Horrible. "Excuse me, I'm Bernard Sanders, Liberty Union candidate for governor. Have you heard of Liberty Union? Well, if you get a chance I'd appreciate it if you read this." And out goes the leaflet. A very deadly place. Barely made it through. As I left I heard a few women making snickering comments about Dr. Spock running for president. [ed: Spock ran on the Progressive Party ticked and was supported by Liberty Union in Vermont.] And I thought everybody liked Dr. Spock. I knew I wouldn't get one vote from that place.

I don't know why, exactly, Sanders flopped with this audience, and I'm not sure he did either. Perhaps he was uncomfortable with older women. Perhaps his revolutionary fervor was annoying to women just trying to get through the workday. It's interesting that Sanders thought "everybody liked Dr. Spock," when conservatives were already blaming the doctor-turned-activist/public humanist for ruining America's youth. Maybe these women agreed with that critique. Or maybe they just thought Spock was a mansplaining jackass who could keep his childrearing ideas to himself, thanks very much. But somehow, they connected him with Sanders. And I suspect he was correct—he didn't get one vote from that place.

Sanders would spend several more years running for office and not getting very many votes, before a successful election to the position of Mayor of Burlington in 1981. What happened to turn him from loser into winner? And how did his "white male" problems continue? Those will be featured tomorrow in "Looking For Bernie, Part 2: Mr. Sanders Goes to Burlington."

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