Primarily Speaking

image of Bernie Sanders sticking his hand in a young female reporter's face
It's a real mystery why so many of his supporters are misogynist assholes.

During the 2016 primary, Bernie Sanders' supporters (#NotAllBernieSupporters) developed a terrible reputation for harassing Hillary Clinton supporters, journalists, and anyone deemed insufficiently enthusiastic about Sanders, prompting him at one point to say weakly, "We don't want that crap" and "Anybody who is supporting me that is doing the sexist things — we don't want them."

This time around, many of them were right out of the gate following his announcement with the same garbage, and, although he hasn't directly addressed his supporters' behavior, it has already prompted Sanders to send out an email to his campaign surrogates advising them to avoid being bullies.

Daniel Marans at the Huffington Post: Sanders Asks Campaign Surrogates to 'Engage Respectfully' with Democratic Rivals. "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on surrogates representing his 2020 presidential campaign in the media to 'respectfully engage' his opponents in the Democratic presidential primary, encouraging them to focus on policies rather than personalities. In the Saturday email to over 100 campaign surrogates obtained by HuffPost, Sanders also preemptively admonished supporters against 'bullying and harassment of any kind.'"

Cool. Today, there's an article by Daniel Lippman at Politico which contains this passage:
Michael Briggs, Sanders' 2016 campaign spokesman who often traveled with Sanders on the private flights, said Clinton and her staff were "total ingrates" in light of the efforts the Vermont senator put in to try to help elect her in the general election.

"You can see why she's one of the most disliked politicians in America. She's not nice. Her people are not nice," he said. "[Sanders] busted his tail to fly all over the country to talk about why it made sense to elect Hillary Clinton and the thanks that [we] get is this kind of petty stupid sniping a couple years after the fact."

"It doesn't make me feel good to feel this way but they're some of the biggest assholes in American politics," he added.
Bernie Sanders' words about treating other candidates with respect carries no weight, because his surrogates and supporters see how he treats people. The rot has always come from the top of the campaign. If Sanders wants his surrogates and supporters to treat people with respect, then he needs to start by providing that example. With some really basic stuff, like keeping his goddamn hands out of women's faces.

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In other Sanders news, his position on Venezuela is so, so bad: "Ramos asked Sanders if he thought Maduro is a dictator who should step down. Sanders refused to say yes or no. 'I think clearly he has been very, very abusive,' Sanders replied. 'That is a decision of the Venezuelan people, so I think, Jorge, there's got to be a free and fair election. But what must not happen is that the United States must not use military force and intervene again as it has done in the past in Latin America, as you recall, whether it was Chile or Brazil or the Dominican Republic or Guatemala.' Sanders also said that he believes 'the United States has got to work with the international community to make sure that there is a free and fair election in Venezuela.'"

This is the worst possible take. First of all, there was an election, the results of which Maduro has ignored. Secondly, Maduro isn't going to allow free and fair elections. For fuck's sake.

This take was so bad that even some of his supporters roundly criticized it. The thing is, Sanders having a bad take on dictators is actually par for the course. If Sanders' supporters don't like his take on Venezuela, I've got bad news for them about his take on lots of other stuff.

* * *

Speaking of bad takes, the New York Times has grabbed the baton on promoting the narrative that Senator Amy Klobuchar is an abusive boss, running an expose that opens with this anonymously-sourced anecdote:
Senator Amy Klobuchar was hungry, forkless, and losing patience.

An aide, joining her on a trip to South Carolina in 2008, had procured a salad for his boss while hauling their bags through an airport terminal. But once onboard, he delivered the grim news: He had fumbled the plastic eating utensils before reaching the gate, and the crew did not have any forks on such a short flight.

What happened next was typical: Ms. Klobuchar berated her aide instantly for the slip-up. What happened after that was not: She pulled a comb from her bag and began eating the salad with it, according to four people familiar with the episode.

Then she handed the comb to her staff member with a directive: Clean it.
First of all, I can't even believe this fork story is considered newsworthy, no less abusive. I suspect that a lot of people reacting to that have never actually been employed as support/administrative staff, but I have — and being tasked with procuring lunch isn't remotely unreasonable. What is unreasonable is giving your employer a salad without any way to eat it.

If I'd been asked to get food in my capacity as support staff and then delivered it without utensils, I'd have been chewed out big time, by a boss far less busy or important than a U.S. senator, and I would have felt like I deserved it, to be quite frank.

If you've never worked in executive support, maybe it sounds demeaning to be asked to get food, but the whole point of support staff is to make sure that a tightly-scheduled person has the things they need in the moments they need them in order to meet an incredibly demanding schedule.

Klobuchar herself confesses that there are times she's been too tough on her staff, while also noting she has staff who's been with her a long time, but I've worked for demanding bosses and I've worked for abusive bosses, and they are not the same. In my experience, however, women who are demanding bosses are often accused of being abusive bosses, and we all know exactly why the fuck that is.

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In other news, Senator Elizabeth Warren "is laying down a new rule for her presidential campaign: No fundraisers, dinners, receptions, or phone calls with wealthy donors."

Which is a step beyond the promise that all of the Democratic contenders are making: "U.S. Sen. Cory Booker says he 'won't take a dime from corporate PACs.' Neither will U.S. Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, or any other 2020 Democratic presidential candidate."

Meanwhile, here are dueling articles in Politico about Donald Trump: GOP Donors: Trump Campaign Lacks a Strategy to Win in 2020 and Trump's Secret to Victory in 2020: Hispanic Voters.

So Trump either has no strategy or has the perfect strategy! In any case, let's definitely not talk about the fact that zero precautions have been taken to guard our elections against foreign interference, so Trump doesn't really need any strategy at all. Sob.

Talk about these things! Or don't. Whatever makes you happy. Life is short.

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