Vote for Bernie? Why Not Just Write In Santa Claus

At least St. Nick isn't a Useful Idiot for Putin.

IN THE PROGRESSIVE COLLEGE TOWN where I live, one sees a lot of “Bernie” bumper stickers on a lot of Subarus. Probably these are remnants of 2016, when the Independent from Vermont masqueraded as a Democrat, dividing the party and hobbling Hillary Clinton’s campaign just enough to fuck up the final tally. Although I held with HRC then as now, I don’t begrudge anyone who supported Bernie Sanders in the primaries four years ago, when we first became acquainted with the ugly font and awful shade of blue on his campaign merch. But to support him today, after Trump, after Mueller, is akin to insisting, on Christmas 2019, that despite ample evidence to the contrary, Michael Jackson is innocent, because you really dig Off the Wall.

“Don’t they know?” I scream when I see these Bernie stickers. “Don’t they realize who he really is?” Apparently not. But then, to them, and to most on what Sean Hannity might call the “radical left,” Bernie is not a person as much as an ideal: A sort of liberal Santa Claus who will come down our collective chimney to deliver free healthcare and free college, and, with the aid of his ineffable North Pole magic, break up the banks, slay the patriarchy, eliminate racism, end income inequality, and tax corporations into insolvency—all while raising the minimum wage for his workshop elves. How he plans to actually accomplish any of this he only hints at—Bernie rarely deigns to answer process questions and usually gets grouchy when pressed for details—but it all sounds so wonderful we want to believe, just as we every year insist that yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

Unfortunately, the flesh-and-blood Bernie Sanders, if elected, would not have the requisite power to fulfill his lofty promises—any more than the tipsy Macy’s Santa will leave the mall on a sleigh driven by flying reindeer. Bernie is a real person, and he is deeply, perhaps fatally, flawed. He would be a horrible candidate in the general election—like, McGovern-in-’72-level bad—and, more urgently, his nomination would ensure that, whoever won, the White House remained in Russian hands.

The Bernie extolled by the bros is a myth, just like the Trump that MAGA adores—just like Neverland, and just like Santa Claus. We need to face some cold, hard truths, before Sanders scolds and finger-wags his way to a second term for Donald Trump. We cannot permit this egomaniacal fraud to spoil yet another election.

Bernie is a socialist—but of the Union of Soviet Socialists variety.

Hey, there’s a reason Santa Claus wears red!

Bernie is a self-styled “socialist” who has bought, hook line and sinker, the Stalinist propaganda about Marxism and the glories of the Soviet Union. This was understandable if you were Dalton Trumbo in 1947. After all, the governing philosophy of communism is “let’s share everything so there is no want,” which is kind of appealing, especially next to the “fuck you, pay me” mantra of unvarnished Trump-variety capitalism. Seven-plus decades later, alas, the naïveté borders on delusional.

From the Young Peoples Socialist League to his membership in the Liberty Union Party, which sought to nationalize (and not just “break up”) the banks, to his time at the Kibbutz Sha’ar Ha’amakim, which extolled Stalin—who slaughtered more people than Hitler—as “Sun of the Nations,” to his hanging a Soviet flag in his Burlington mayoral office, Soviet boosterism is the thruline of Bernie's career.

Bernie took his wife to the Soviet Union for their honeymoon, as one does. For years, he extolled the virtues of the USSR. Rather than grok that it’s all KGB-fed propaganda and lies, he’s been a staunch Bolshevik apologist for his entire adult life.

I mean, the guy has a dacha, ffs.

Look, our healthcare system is flawed. I’d love some sort of universal coverage like they have in every other developed country. But the best person to promote the de facto nationalization of the healthcare system is not a Soviet apologist who once wanted to nationalize the banks, too.

Bernie is unpopular with Black voters.

To be fair, Sanders (likely) really does want equality and all those nice things he talks about. Good for him. The problem is that his vision of “socialist” utopia is absolutist and focuses too much on the (white, male) working class that he, like his beloved Marx, idolizes and idealizes.

Despite some high-profile Black supporters, Bernie remains unpopular with Black voters, particularly Black women. This, and not “the rigged DNC,” is why HRC kicked his ass in the primaries. Could it be that Black voters have made Bernie as a BS artist? Those are his initials, after all.

The failure of the United States to properly examine and make amends for slavery contributes mightily to the country’s enduring racism, on which MAGA feeds. Not to even discuss reparations is madness. Unsurprisingly, Bernie does not understand this:

To win the resounding victory necessary to defeat Trump and the Russian hackers threatening to sabotage yet another election, overwhelming African-American voter turnout is essential. Black voters are more likely to turn out in big numbers for Joe Biden—especially if he runs with Kamala Harris, as we K-Hivers hope—than yet another elderly New Yorker who makes pie-in-the-sky promises he can’t possibly keep.

Bernie is lazy.

Sanders spent the early part of his career flitting between low-paying odd jobs:

He bounced around for a few years, working stints in New York as an aide at a psychiatric hospital and teaching preschoolers for Head Start, and in Vermont researching property taxation for the Vermont Department of Taxes and registering people for food stamps for a nonprofit called the Bread and Law Task Force.

Then as now, he was more given to talking the talk than walking the walk. In 1970, the 30-year-old Liberty Union Party socialist was kicked out of a Vermont commune for not doing his share of the work. His days there were instead spent in “endless political discussion.”

Sanders’ idle chatter did not endear him with some of the commune’s residents, who did the backbreaking labor of running the place. [Kate] Daloz writes [in her history of the commune] that one resident, Craig, “resented feeling like he had to pull others out of Bernie’s orbit if any work was going to get accomplished that day.” Sanders was eventually asked to leave. 

Eventually, Bernie found a career that would allow him to talk a big game but accomplish precious little: politics. For the decades he’s been in Congress, his record is pretty scant. Seven bills in 28 years, including two that name post offices, is nothing to write home about (unless you’re writing home to one of those post offices)—although Sanders has been a quiet champion of gun rights for most of his Congressional career, as well as a dependable “nay” vote on Russian sanctions, so I guess there’s that.

But hey, I’m sure a guy who has avoided labor as assiduously as possible for 78 years will magically turn into a workaholic as an octogenarian. That heart attack no doubt jump-started his engines. Speaking of which…

Bernie is old, and he just had a heart attack.

Okay, maybe it wasn’t actually a heart attack. Maybe it was just a life-threatening cardiac issue that required emergency surgery. We don’t know, because Sanders has not yet released his medical report. But he has promised to do so, just as he promised to release his taxes and then waited a million years to make good. Will he bring the receipts before next week, as he said he would?

Even if his medical report checks out, I mean…there’s ageism, and then there are actuarial tables. A President Sanders would turn eighty in 2021, his first year in office. That would make him the oldest first-term president by a significant margin. He can’t live forever; in that way, he’s not like Santa Claus.

Bernie is a misogynist.

That Bernie Sanders is some sort of radical feminist, a paradigm for how men should be in the post-Third-Wave world, is almost as ridiculous as his stubborn refusal to comb his hair.

Before he launched his political career, he was a deadbeat dad. Remember, Bernie was a graduate of the prestigious University of Chicago, in an era when college degrees were relatively rare. Instead of putting food on the table, he was running quixotic political campaigns as the standard-bearer of a barely functional party. As Spandan Chakrabarti writes:

In 1971, Vermont was debating a tenant’s rights bill. One of the testimonials to Vermont’s State Senate Judiciary Committee came from one Susan Mott of Burlington, who said the legislation did not go far enough in prohibiting discrimination against single mothers and recipients of welfare benefits. Mott had one child and was on welfare.

That one child…was Levi Sanders, Bernie Sanders’ son.

Which begs the question, why did Bernie Sanders’ (former?) girlfriend and his son have to be on welfare? Where was the University of Chicago graduate’s considerable marketable skills? What was 5-year-old Levi’s father doing that he couldn't afford to support his own child?

It turns out he was too busy coming in third with single digit votes.

To be fair, Bernie did bring home a little bit of bacon writing stuff like this:

A man goes home and masturbates [to] his typical fantasy. A woman on her knees, a woman tied up, a woman abused.

A woman enjoys intercourse with her man—as she fantasizes [about] being raped by 3 men simultaneously.

Even if those lines were intended as a provocative rhetorical flourish to be shot down later in the essay, I mean…what feminist ally would write something like that?

And then there’s the more recent sexual harassment issues that seem to be pervasive in his campaign offices. He missed one of the Russian sanction votes because he was busy dealing with it:

The only one to miss the vote was Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. He was meeting with women who had accused his 2016 presidential campaign of sexual misconduct, his spokesman, Josh Miller-Lewis, told CNBC.

As if to confirm his misogynist bona fides, Sanders this month endorsed the candidacy of Young Turks founder Cenk Uygur, no feminist ally—before the bad optics forced him to reverse course:

“As I said yesterday, Cenk has been a longtime fighter against the corrupt forces in our politics and he’s inspired people all across the country,” the Vermont senator said. “However, our movement is bigger than any one person. I hear my grassroots supporters who were frustrated and understand their concerns. Cenk today said he is rejecting all endorsements for his campaign, and I retract my endorsement.”

That Cenk is running for the California seat vacated by rising star Katie Hill, a victim of criminal revenge porn who was shamed into stepping down, makes the gaffe even worse.

Bernie is not a Democrat.

Of all the idiotic narratives spewed by the “Bernie bros” about 2016, the most asinine was that the process had to be rigged because the DNC clearly preferred Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders. Um…why would it not? Just as a New York Yankees fan club would want its leader to be a ride-or-die Yankee fan rather than a waffler who rooted for either the Bronx Bombers or the Red Sox depending on which was doing better that year, so the Democratic National Committee wants an actual Democrat to be its nominee. Duh.

And this was not any nominee. HRC was practically funding the operation herself, to help with the down-ballot races Bernie could give a shit about. Anyone can scold the country about big banks and wage inequality, but to actually, you know, govern requires working well with other people, a skill that seems to have eluded Sanders for the last 30 years.

Alas, the incorrigible Senator has learned nothing from 2016. He’s still playing the hackneyed “rabble-rousing outsider” card:

The election of 2020 is, or should be, a referendum on Trump. It’s not about taking on the Democrats. That sort of internecine divisiveness is exactly what Putin wants. Which makes perfect sense when we consider that…

Bernie is (at a minimum) a Useful Idiot for Putin.

The bots go on the offensive whenever I tweet that Bernie is a Useful Idiot for Russia. But he is Useful, in that he operates as a divisive force in the Democratic Party, which aids Putin. And he’s certainly an Idiot, in that he doesn't realize the damage he’s done. But does he really not know?

The Mueller Report makes it clear that Russian IC was helping the Sanders campaign. Either Bernie didn’t realize this, and is an idiot, or he did realize it and played along, and is a traitor. Either way, the guy who hired former Paul Manafort chum Tad Devine to run his campaign cannot be trusted with standing up to Putin and the powerful forces of transnational organized crime, no matter how passionate his anti-Wall Street screeds.

(Sidenote: Tad Devine is now peddling his Kremlin-y wares for Andrew Yang, which perhaps explains Yang’s recent remark that he is open to granting Donald Trump a pardon. This, needless to say, is disqualifying).

Put it this way: Are we sure that a Nominee Sanders—an almost-eighty-year-old who just had a heart attack—would not pick the Russophile cult member Tulsi Gabbard as his running mate? The “anti-anti-Trump Left,” as Jonathan Chait calls it, is alive and well, sharing, “in addition to enthusiasm for Bernie Sanders, [a] deep skepticism of the Democratic Party’s mobilization against the president.” So: traitors, basically. Would not Sanders, if given the chance, throw meat to this rabid fan base, if only to generate more adulation? Do we really trust the judgment of the guy who can’t ensure that his own campaign headquarters is not a hostile work environment?

Bernie still, years after the fact, cannot understand that he contributed to HRC’s defeat—just as he can’t see that his ideas about the Soviet Union and communism have been debunked. He doesn’t have it in him to realize, much less admit, he was wrong. And why should he? As long as well-meaning people—especially young people; especially young women; especially pretty young women—keep “feeling the Bern,” he will continue to happily soak up the attention, like the insufferable narcissist he is. Why Millennials support the guy instead of OK-Boomering him to oblivion is a head-scratcher. Maybe it’s because he was born two months before Pearl Harbor and is therefore older than the Boomers?

Bernie Sanders is the Trump of the Left. Repeat: Bernie Sanders is the Trump of the Left. He’s an egomaniac who believes his own hype, like Trump. And like Trump, Bernie is selling snake oil; we just happen to like his brand of snake oil. He’s a bad mall Santa, promising everyone a pony, when all he can deliver is a lump of coal. And make no mistake: far from assuring a worker’s paradise, his nomination would bring about the end of the republic.

It’s not a “revolution.” It’s a con job. And it’s got the full support of the Russians.

Photo: U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders speaking with attendees at the 2019 California Democratic Party State Convention at the George R. Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore.